What are we missing?
It is 1940 on the Princeton University campus. A limo pulls up in front of the local inn and a woman steps out. A gentleman happens to be passing by and the woman mistakes him for the bellhop. She requests that he bring her mountain of luggage into the hotel. With a nod, he obliges. When he’s finished, the woman tries to tip him. He gives a chuckle and then moves on down the street. The hotel manager hands her the room key with a smile. “Mrs., the man who just brought in your bags was none other than Albert Einstein.”
Journey 2,000 years back to the first Easter morning. Mary Magdalene, a devoted friend and companion of Jesus, visits his tomb. A man appears before her in the garden. She mistakes him for the gardener. Until he says her name: “Mary.” Imagine the goosebumps! She was standing face to face with God.
How many times has God made an appearance in your life and because you were too busy, too consumed with earthly life and responsibilities, or just plain down on hope—you missed heaven breaking through?
Our world can feel all doom and gloom, as if the masterpiece is unraveling right before our eyes. Wars, earthquakes, illnesses, division and hatred are unfortunately part of the story. If we are not careful, the imperfection and brokenness in our world can outshine the miraculous right before our eyes. Christian mystics believed the Divine was hidden in plain sight. All we have to do is open our eyes (and hearts) to see the bellhop, the gardener, the divinity right in front of us.
What if our Lenten practice this year is as simple as noticing the good, the beautiful, the redemptive in each day? It’s an act of faith to collect experiences of divinity in the mundane and ordinary of our lives. Our souls resurrect with every little glimmer of God experienced in nature, in relationships, in scripture, worship, and prayer, in art and music, and especially when love is given and received.
Discipline, curiosity, and a flicker of hope are all we need to feel awe, and then immense gratitude for the sacred reality within and all around us.
Welcome Lent 2023’s “taps on the shoulder,” urging you and me to dig deeper, to want more, to give more. Draw an ash or invisible cross on your forehead so that you will remember that whatever happens you belong to God and God belongs to you. We are participants in a remarkable love story.