Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Look Up to Find a Lenten Message

A fellow writer and friend of mine wrote:
"Pay attention to people who encourage you spiritually. They just might have a Lenten message for you!"
But who is looking for the Lenten message?
Who is following Christ this Holy Week as his actions as teacher and healer turn abruptly to his intense passion of walking toward abuse, ridicule, and death on a cross? The message can often seem too hard, too cruel, too painful to watch. There have been years when instead of going the distance to the cross with Christ and attending church on Maunday Thursday and  Good Friday, I fled to the golf course, away from waiting and watching Jesus and His passion. I ran away , taking my pain and sorrow to the beauty of creation. It was all that made sense to me. It was all I could bear.
But it was there in the beauty of God's creation, the Lenten message sought me out, found me, and revealed to me the true Lenten message of hope. I have told the story before, but it bears repeating for those who might be looking for messages outside of church doors this week.
We were finishing our round of golf, moving around the course, and walking onto the 18th green. As we walked by the lake and onto the green, I saw some movement above me. I paused, looked up, touched Mike's arm and whispered, "Look Up! Look Up!" There waving snow white wings, hovering above us were five white doves. It was as though they were waiting there to give us the Lenten message - a message that said, "It is a sad day, but Sunday is coming. Jesus is alive. Your child is with Jesus. And one day, the five of you will be together again - in Heaven."
And then I remembered the song,
"On the wings of a snow-white dove
He sends His pure sweet love
A sign from above
On the wings of a dove"
Now, several years later, we reflect on that day as a day of gratitude that together we witnessed the Lenten message - delivered  to us personally on the wings of five, white doves, sent from above. Where did the doves comes from, you ask? I, too, pursued that question and learned that they lived close by and were often released  for specific missions, only to return to their home when their mission was completed.
How like God to send those doves as a Lenten message. But as my friend said, you have to pay attention.
You have to look up.