Ash and Starlight

Connecting with God, each other, and ourselves in the broken and beautiful

Friday Prayer, March 30, 2018

Tree of Life

“Tree of Life” oil canvas by Arianne Braithwaite Lehn

A blessed Good Friday to each of you, my friends.

I am grateful to be writing after some long radio silence – sick kids, meaningful visits from loved ones, new baby developmental milestones that equaled wonky sleep around here, and the like (I forgot how the ability to stand up and cruise around in a crib throws things off!). I am praying this Lenten journey has been a grace-filled one for you, even if your moments to reflect have not come as often as you would have liked. It can be enough.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about death and new life. Especially today. Before being taken away for crucifixion, Jesus talks to his disciples about seeds. New life comes from a seed when it goes into the earth and “dies.” And death, as we know, comes in all kinds of forms.

The part of Jesus’ final discourse that really stood out to me this week was when he says,

Right now, I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this?’ No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.’ (John 12:27-28 The Message)

Jesus said ‘yes’ to the death because he knew that particular ‘yes’ was also ‘yes’ to a whole bunch of other things.

As we hold space today for Jesus’ yes – to a cross and ultimately to new life – I am praying for you in the personal forms of death for which you are holding space right now. I pray there will be lots of room for both the death as well as the new life, because they always need each other.

You are brave.

***

Wonder Worker,

When I peered up from the hole and saw no way out,

When what was taken away gave no warning,

When I didn’t think I had the courage

(or even the energy)

to live into a life looking nothing like it did before…

 

Something was happening.

 

The thing I I thought would break me –

that did break me

is now making me.

 

Great is the mystery of faith…”

 

The pieces of life’s puzzle come together here and there,

or shockingly in a big patch at once,

and I see You,

active and good in all things.

 

Your power to redeem –

to take the most painful death and losses

and grow from them living, breathing gifts

that take my own breath away in awe.

 

Somehow this hard, hard, hard thing –

when given in earnest to you today

(and many tomorrows from now!)

becomes an open channel where

something amazing will flow.

 

A passage echoing

with a tender Voice –

 

You can trust me with all the things….

in all the things…

This too.

And yes, this.

 

Why is it, God, that

death is so demanding –

commanding space in my soul,

in my schedule,

to really lean in

to the new reality I’m asked

to embrace?

 

It took your disciples a while too.

 

I know you promise

I have as much time as I need,

and that fruit will continue to

bud and burst.

 

Amen.

4 Comments

  1. Marianne Platt

    March 30, 2018 at 8:33 am

    Oh Arianne, your post has such a powerful meaning for me today. It is a difficult time but I now have a surge of blessings that make suitations seem less threatening. Life is growing before me in my woodland, hope is happening in my heart. Jesus my friend, is at my side. Life is good.
    Love your painting. I have, above my fireplace, a painting of the Tree of Life done for me by Virgil Penner. It centers me each day.
    Blessings to you and your precious family. You are greatly missed.
    Marianne Platt

    • Sweet Marianne!! How we miss you! I am so sorry for the challenges you are facing. You are such a model of resilience, strength, and hope! I would love to see that version of the Tree of Life of Penner. We are connected across the miles! One in the Spirit, my dear friend. All of us send our love!

  2. Always uplifting to hear your “voice,” Arianne! Bless you and your dear family this Easter and always!

    • Thank you so much, Kathy! Your encouragement and friendship have been such boons to me! Easter blessings to you, Greg, and your beautiful children!

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