Storms happen. If you have never watched a thunderstorm form and unleash it’s power from the vantage point of a farm located in the middle and flatland of the midwest, you have missed something life-changing and awesome. To look to the west when a faint rumble of thunder sounds, while standing under a blue sky on a summer afternoon, and see the clouds begin to move east is to watch a miracle happen. The birds begin to move restlessly about and you can feel the energy in the air. As the clouds get closer, they are dark and forbidding underneath, but led by grey and rolling clouds; the air itself begins to take on a pungent aroma – you can smell the energy in the air. The birds and other animals take cover. And then as the storm arrives, you are greeted by an explosion of air and immense flash of lightening coming together. Then the rain appears, gushing down and pushed by the rapidly moving air – the wind that signals a major change – a cleansing of the old and the arrival of the new. A cleansing of the land and the air that can be felt and experienced by all of the senses. And then finally, the storm begins to lessen and to fade – to slow down and move onward to cleanse and to bring a freshness to the rest of the world. And finally, as it disappears and the Sun begins to be visible once again, a beautiful and colorful rainbow makes it’s appearance, a promise of newness – a renewal of life.
The earth and all that is on it, all forms of life are renewed – are freshened and changed. This is on one level, a story of life. From birth, through the life journey to death; we experience these major storms that are necessary and vital to our growth and life. At times, we hear people complain about the difficult days, and somehow have dreams of a life filled with nice peaceful days, without a care in the world. We dream of a heaven where all pain is erased and we float around in a wonderful dream world where peace and harmony exist without any sign of discord. We dream of sitting on a nice cozy beach somewhere with sun every day, music playing all the time and all needs catered to.
Quite frankly, I find that dream deadening. That is an image of hell. We have it backward. Heaven is where life happens. Life is dynamic, filled with new possibilities and change. Storms remind us of life in need of development; the cleansing of the old and the birth of the new. We are part of something that is becoming. We are part of creation which is ongoing, dynamic, and new possibilities around every corner. Richard Rohr and Joan Chittister both remind us in their stories of faith, that it is critical to learn how too let go of what we struggle to hang on to. We are reminded that stagnant water is not life giving; we find life in flowing waters – that cleanse and give life. A stagnant life is a contradiction – life cannot be stagnant. Without movement we choose death – darkness without the rainbow. The Gospel of the Christ calls us to choose life – to trust in the God that gives life. Life is dynamic and diverse.
The Gospel calls us to look with the heart; beyond the surface and see the spirit of God alive in the wonderful diversity of our cosmos; our galaxy and world. We are surrounded by billions of galaxies, stars and planets. We immersed into a world on earth filled with awesome beauty and diversity that has been growing for billions of years. We, in our humanity, are gifted with the ability to see to wondrous miracle of life that has been and continues to unfold around us and through us every second of every day. The Universe itself continues to unfold as old stars die and explode into new forms. Galaxies form and reform, with force and energy that we cannot understand. We stand in awe when we look beyond the surface – and learn to look out with the mind, but also with the heart. The Cosmos is changing around us as is our solar system and our home; the earth. Storms and rainbows; rain, wind, lightening and snow are constant reminders of life struggling to become. When we see the world and creation as static we see darkness and death and we become afraid. We are convinced that we have to become gods in order to control our self-created world. As the scriptures tell us, the storms of life are necessary and life giving and the rainbow is the promise of life constantly renewing itself and that our lives reflect this promise of life coming to be through us. Lord, help us to see.
THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE, LET US REJOICE AND BE GLAD!