Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday ...a run in the garden

I wake up to a storm, wind battering the rain against the windows of our attic bedroom. It's Good Friday, and my day-off, so I'm planning to go for a run. The lake by our house that is standard fare? No. Not today. Not on Good Friday. I long to run in a garden. My version of garden is Discovery Park, so I dress, finish my coffee, and am quickly on my way.

There's a path through this wooded park that's perfect for running: a few hills, deep forests, open vistas overlooking Elliot Bay and out west to the Olympic Mountains. Soon I'm running, listening to Sigur Ros, my newest favorite band. Their music invites transcendence and contemplation, and its for contemplation more than cardio that I am running today.

The forest floor is exploding with florescence, and green that signifies life assaults my senses. It's bursting from the ground; it's painting the trees with moss; it's oozing from the trees in the form of a new season of leaves. New life - freshness - hope. These are the things that this forest, at this time of year, on this kind of day, speak to me. Yes, there's a storm. The rain drips from the trees, and the wind whips the new greenery into a fresh dance. The juxtaposition of storm and life take me back to the garden where Jesus prayed. Drops of blood and cries of agonizing longing blend with submission - a willingness to endure the ultimate sacrifice so that life; my life and yours - and all the life that is this grand cosmos, might someday be restored.

" Consider Jesus, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross..." Gardens like this, on days like this, are hints of something better that awaits us all. Perhaps the 'joy set before Him' was more clearly seen by our Lord in the garden than in the Jerusalem, where the commerce and religious/political systems conspired to deal fear and death instead of freedom and beuaty. We don't know... but perhaps.

The path turns, and I'm headed uphill and out towards the bank. The wind has stopped for the time being. The i- pod takes me to Glosoli, from the Takk album. I've just viewed the video, and was captivated by it's raw beauty and invitation to both journey and faith. I'm running towards the bank, and stop to overlook the water. The clouds have parted enough to offer fresh snow on the Olympics. I pause and contemplate our Lord's leap of faith - into the darkness of the cross, a faith rooted in His confidence towards the Father. A faith in the 'joy set before Him'. I look out over the water and back towards the city where I live and thank God for the joy that is set before us all - the confidence, in spite of the evidence, in a future vastly different than this present world offers. "Thank you for the cross Lord Jesus. Enable our little flock to so live in you that I become a clearer expression of your life, so that the world can see hope, forgiveness, real love, generosity, peace, and wisdom. Pour out your spirit."

I pray with my arms outstretched - with a sense of longing for Jesus to answer this prayer and pour out His spirit, bringing restoration and hope to many. The music falls silent, as if scripted. And the wind begins again, dancing with the trees, and singing through the branches. A sign? I wouldn't be that bold. But on this day, in this moment, with these longings for Christ to reign, it is enough. I turn my face to the wind and say 'thank you' before continuing my run, back into the trees, back to the garden, and finally back to the city I am privileged to call home. It is a very Good Friday indeed.


At 17/4/06 22:14, Blogger Jim Underhill said...

The freshness and bright colors of spring have meant a lot to me. I keep seeing 'new life' especially after several winter months of sickness and a deep work of God. I can only say 'thank you' to my Lord for pumping into me a daily dose of His life, accentuated each spring with this wonderful splash of new things.


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