One of my favorite books is Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The book consists of various introspective chapters, each centering around a “shell” metaphor, a “gift” from the sea, where Anne spent time alone to refresh her mind and spirit from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Examining the configurations of the shells prompts Anne to think differently about life, relationships, marriage, and the aesthetic beauty of the human mind and heart.
A similarly touching book by Elisabeth Tova Bailey is titled The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. In her book, Elisabeth describes what she observes around her during a long, debilitating illness. When she receives a plant complete with a woodland snail living within its soil, she becomes fascinated with the simplicity of its life. Soon, she develops a kind of relationship with the small creature, caring for it and feeding it leaves, its quiet munching a solace in her loneliness. While others might have found the tiny snail insignificant, Elisabeth realizes that each part of creation, whether human or creature, is part of an entire interwoven network of relationships that make our world fascinating and exquisitely beautiful. In understanding the mysterious life of the snail by her bedside, Elisabeth gains new insights into her own place within the world. In calling attention to the remarkable phenomena of the natural world around us, the book celebrates the resilience of human existence even in our darkest times.
As we leave the dark, cold barrenness of winter and enter into spring, we too notice the budding branches, the sound of returning birds, the green of unfolding, new leaves, the bursting forth of color. Warm winds blow white and pink petals across the roadways and paths. Rains pool and form muddy birdbaths. Bees begin pollinating flowers. Flower beds fill with tulips and daffodils. And with spring comes a feeling that life is in the air. Indeed it is.
Life is a theme that God has developed from micro to macro in every part of the world from the first day of creation. As we continue in May celebrating the resurrection life of Jesus, his post-resurrection appearances to his stunned disciples, and the birth of the early church, we can get an awe-filled sense of how wondrous Life as a disciple can be.
Being a disciple of Jesus is a commitment to paying attention to the little miracles around us, the way life always springs from death and darkness, the way no matter how many times we try to “nail” Jesus down or wipe Him away, He always reappears powerfully and mightily in the world in new and exciting ways with His healing hand and loving heart.
This month as you prepare to be touched by the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, remember that Life starts with a seed. You are that seed. And now is your time to burst forth with the love and beauty of the Gospel message so that all the world can experience the life-giving love of Jesus.
Never for a moment believe that your contribution is not enough. You just may be the next small miracle in someone else’s life.
If you have a need to talk about something happening in your life, whether in sadness or joy, the pastor’s door is always open and her ear always listening. Just give a call or email.
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