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Monday, March 24, 2008

Dear St. Luke’s Community,

There’s an saying that was front and center in my mind and reflection after the Holy Week and Easter festivities were winding down today. The saying is, “Perception is reality.” I have to admit that there are times when that is more true for me than I would like it to be. As I thought about it I found that often when I use that saying, it’s not in a positive vein.

However, today, I was struck at every turn about how different things seemed around me than they did just last week. Sure, I’m talking about the spiritual realities of the profound shift from Lent to Holy Week to Easter, but in the temporal stuff around me, I also noticed a real shift in how things appear. It actually started on Good Friday. As I walked down the steps toward the door of the Church I saw a robin for the first time this spring. As I noticed the bird at work seeking a crisp morning meal, I found that I was hearing a cardinal here, and the chirp of more robins there, I could sense that new life was straining to break out all over.

Now I know the next part of this change in perception has largely to do with timing. But daylight savings time notwithstanding, the quality of light on things is just different in the past couple of days. The children are out playing longer after school. They’re also pushing on the limits of whether or not they should wear coats.

I noticed in driving back from a trip to the store this evening that I could hear birds everywhere. There were more than the usual number of folks out walking their dogs. There seemed to be more runners and walkers on the road. The big pile of snow in the turnaround at Flagg Street School is smaller every day. My perception of the world around me and what’s going on in it have a huge influence on my reality.

As Easter people it struck me that simply a shift in perspective can make all the difference as well. Assume for a moment that you don’t experience Lent and Easter knowing how the story turns out. Imagine if you will, what Jesus’s disciples might have experienced, perceived and felt each in their own way as it became clearer and clearer that something really important had happened.

Now move out of your imagination and into your experience and perception of the miracle you’ve been a part remembering and celebrating in the past week. You have a new chance this year, just as in every Easter season, to see the world in a new way as a result of the resurrection of Jesus. Death is no longer the final answer but merely a shift in lives that are eternal in nature. Hope is not merely an attractive idea but confident assurance that God can make good out of bad. Love is a way of life not an emotion. We can come to see people as walking talking images of God instead of viewing others with fear and suspicion.

Sometimes it’s all in how you seen things. Take a look at the world around you in the light of the resurrection and help change the reality of things and you’ll be helping bring in the Kingdom of God.

Fr. Warren+

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Dear St. Luke’s Community,

As some of you might know, I have succumbed to one of the latest trends in our increasingly digital and pluralistic world.

I am on FACEBOOK.

For those of you who don’t know of it, Facebook (www.facebook.com) is a social networking website in which folks can make connections with people of similar interests and communicate in real time in a virtual community. As with most of the internet, you have to take the good with the bad, but Facebook lets you choose your content and who has access to that content. But that’s not what I’m really writing about.

Earlier this week, I received a ‘bumper sticker’ on my account from on of my Facebook ‘Friends’. He is a freshman in college at St. Thomas College in St. Paul, Minnesota and the oldest son of one of my seminary classmates. He still finds it amusing that relics like his mother and me are on Facebook. The sticker he posted on my site quotes noted 20th Century Anglican C.S. Lewis, saying, “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” The implication, at least in part, is “there’s more to us than what you see….WAY more!”

Again last night while I was reading Ronald Rolheiser’s book The Holy Longing a similar claim barreled into my space. It said, to paraphrase, that the soul is what brings the chemicals of the body, the stuff of which we’re made, into animation. In that sense, according to Rolheiser, to lose one’s soul is to cease to live. It gave me pause to reflect. In fact, it’s still giving me that pause.

This morning I asked a gentleman who came to a meeting in my office, “How are things with your soul?” He pondered a moment and thend said, “I don’t know, I don’t think about it that much.” I was taken aback with his honesty and had to admit that though I ask the question of others fairly often, I don’t often take stock of how things are with my soul as often as I might. If my soul is that part of me that makes life fully possible, then you’d think I’d pay more attention to its health. After that meeting ended, (a couple of hours ago) I spent some time dealing with the question of how it is with my soul. It seems to me that is entirely consistent with what Lent call us to do. So, having said as much, here’s how things are with my soul just ahead of Holy Week…


Thus far this year my Lenten Journey has been, as it often is, about focusing my energies on the things that God is calling me to do and not being concerned so much with those things that I’m told I ‘ought’ to do (either by myself or others). I don’t know about you, but it makes it much easier for me to step out in faith when I sense that God’s desire is my invitation and not that the expectations of another are my compulsion. Make no mistake, some of what we ‘ought’ to do is God’s will, but I invite you to at least acknowledge the possibility that what we ‘ought’ to be spending our time doing might be taking time away from getting into the heart of God in which our souls find their true rest and most powerful inspiration.

Well, enough of the reflection, I ought to get back to work. (he said with tongue firmly planted in cheek).

May the Love of Christ and the song of God in your soul inspire you to hopeful living this Holy Week!!!!

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