The Gift of Winter

Really Gracey?  As an Aussie you're going to talk about the benefits of this long cold New York winter?

Well, no, I'm not.  What I am going to do is point you to another blog that encouraged me during a really hard week in January and provided the words which we've been using as a benediction, a spoken blessing, during the season of Lent at FFBK.

One thing this writer articulates beautifully is the importance of times and seasons.  This is something that has been slowly revealed to me over the last year and a half mostly because as a community we've begun to explore how our lives and spiritual development is informed and transformed by the liturgical calendar.  I've found some amazing creative energy trying to lineup songs and written liturgy with seasons like Advent, Epiphany and Lent, and its holy days like Christmas, Easter and Transfiguration.

Advent has challenged me to stay grounded in the anticipation for how Jesus might birth the upside down kingdom in my own life rather than being swept up in a commercial holiday.  I love that we celebrate the new year with the hopefulness and light of Epiphany, an optimistic cry to start the next 365 days of existence.  And then Lent, O Lent, how you stretch us as we struggle through the lingering winter, how you wear our patience thin and ask hard questions of our fickle faith that doubts spring & resurrection will ever happen.

But mostly I'm thankful for the reminder the liturgical calendar gives us that our lives are not a sea of endless sameness but a series of rhythms, ups and downs, growth and fallowness.

You can read the full blog here but in the meantime I pray this winter blessing over our church and our lives:



May Winter knock upon the door of your soul
And cover there the soil
May silence be a gift to you
and hide you within itself
May the ears of your heart be pricked awake by the frost
and prepare you for Spring
May your hands be warmed not by toil
but by the warmth of your drink,
drink long my friend of His great love.

May fear be far from you
fear of not being enough, not doing enough
and may courage be with you
by the hand of God,
who is your loving sanctuary
your endless water supply
your garden of death and resurrection