During these last few months, leading up to Easter and now beyond, our daily focus of reading and reflecting on the gospel passages has been both sobering and centering, appropriate for this season of sheltering in place.
For Jayne and I, we feel much like our lives, our reading, our spiritual practices over the last few years have been preparing us for a time such as this. We have welcomed the silence and solitude while missing our face-to-face connections in the community. A number of my men’s groups have switched to an online format through zoom, other groups have chosen to take a break. Santa Cruz County jail and Soledad prison have both suspended the programs we have been involved with for the time being. The Saint Francis soup kitchen has switched to bag lunches rather than serving meals in the dining room. I find I am making and receiving more phone calls and those calls have been longer and gone deeper in this season. Jayne has continued providing Spiritual Direction through FaceTime and Zoom and the classes she is currently involved with for training have switched to online formats. The first of the Mount Hermon Women’s Reflective Retreats, was before the SIP order, the second was cancelled.
One of the gospel passages that we have been reflecting on during this season is found in John chapter 9:
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
What Jesus seems to be initially pointing out to them was that they were asking the wrong question. It has caused me to wonder about just what might be the ‘right’ or more ‘deepening’ questions in this season?
Here are some questions we are currently pondering:
1. When the last phase of the Shelter-In-Place order is lifted in my community, how will I be different? What am I preparing for?
2. Is there something in my life—a habit, a grudge, a fear, a prejudice, an addiction, an emotional barrier, a form of excess—that keeps me from loving others as myself?
3. A slower paced schedule can be a time to listen to God, but sometimes God speaks through others, particularly the poor, oppressed, marginalized, and suffering. To whom should I belistening this season? How can I cultivate a listening posture toward others whose perspective and experiences might differ from my own?
4.How does God want to display His works in my life today and every day during this sheltered time?
We pray you too are listening and are well in this season,
Rich and Jayne