At times I wish the church calendar was spaced out a little more. I've only just recovered from all the rehearsals, performances and worship services of Christmas when Ash Wednesday arrives. Lent seems to arrive too soon and last too long. Holy Week takes a lot of preparation and seems to be over too quickly. Easter Sunday rushes headlong towards me while I still have the echo of Christmas carols in my ears.
The cycle repeats. Incarnation. Death. Resurrection.
This is the rhythm of Church and I think it is also the rhythm of the Spiritual life.
God births new life within us.
We become aware of areas of our life that need to die.
We watch parts of ourselves die - attitudes, desires, dreams, fears.
God resurrects us and shows us life beyond the grave.
I love the experience of God birthing new life within me. I love when I experience resurrection. But I want to avoid death. To wait and sit with death is hard. I am prone to despair and self pity, but to receive resurrection we have to wait with death. We want spirituality without death, we want growth without work. We want life without pain, but feeling uncomfortable is a sign that God is at work in our lives. We have to be willing to let things die, and we have to be willing to let things grow.
We live life from tomb to tomb. To grow spiritually is to learn how to sit and wait with death.....
....but death is not the final word because the cross is not the final word. We wait with hope.
The Ignatian prayer the Anima Christi acknowledges this where it says
'....On each of my dyings shed your light and your love.'
Incarnation. Death. Resurrection.
This is the rhythm of life.
(This is completely irrelevant to what I said above....but it is a fun song!)