Every year during Lent the Spiritual Life Commission of Christ Episcopal Church compiles and publishes a Lenten Meditation Book, containing submissions from our parish family that are intended to inspire, encourage reflection, and spark action in our community and the world. These meditations range from poems and quotes to Bible verses and prayers, as well as songs, personal reflections, and inspirational passages from well-known theologians or authors. Our LMB also includes a Daily Office for the Lenten season. If you're nearby, you can grab a printed copy of our LMB at Christ Church while supplies last, or you can visit us here each day, as we'll post one meditation each weekday. You can also check our social media outlets; simply click the links in this post, or bookmark the icons at the top of this page.
We hope that you enjoy and appreciate these meditations, as they reflect our varied and vibrant Christ Church family. We're pleased to be able to share them with you.
In my middle year of seminary, I decided I would try a silent retreat for a week. I chose the monastery of St. John the Evangelist in West Newberry, Massachusetts because it housed the Bishop Coburn Hermitages, and I had known and loved Bishop Coburn as a professor at Virginia Seminary.
It was a perfect place for quiet reflection, each separate small hermitage set in a beautiful meadow of wildflowers next to a river and a state forestry.
I took my mother, who lasted about a day before being unable to take the silence; even at mealtimes, she would invent reasons to go to town, and ended up forming friendship with the kitchen monk where she could sit and talk while chopping vegetables!
I, however, loved it. As the mother of three children, all that quiet, freedom from doing, was glorious.
One day, my spiritual director for the week asked me, “Have you ever just asked Jesus, God to come to you, just because you wanted, needed Him to?”
“To come as exactly what/who you need, now?” I was puzzled. Just ask God to come because I needed Him? Not because the plane was going down, or because I was desperate, but just because I wanted Him/Her to be with me?
“Never,” I replied.
“Try it” he said.
I went outside and sat on the dock by the river and started to read my latest mystery. The sun was shining, and the river was murmuring, and I noticed huge blue dragonflies zooming over the water. So, on a whim, I said, out loud,
"Okay, God, can you come as a dragonfly?"
And nothing happened.
I didn't expect anything to, a frivolous request that God come just because I asked. So, I went back to my book.
And then, a minute later, I felt something on my toe.
I looked up, and there on my big toe perched the largest shimmering blue dragonfly I had ever seen. Just sat, and then lifted off to fly out over the river, and came back, to perch on that same toe. Not once, or twice, but over and over in the next several minutes, delicately and repeatedly my dragonfly God came to me.
It was a gift of life-changing wonder. If God would, could come 'just because' I wanted Him, just for me, then I could trust and love the present God in my life, the who chose to come to me because that is who God is, our Beloved.
Asking and needing and waiting.