Monday, April 15, 2013

Sunshine and Snowflakes and Darkness

Once upon a time when I lived in Iowa, I learned that Spring meant warm sunbeams and crazy western winds from the plains. When I moved back to Minnesota I thought Spring would come a bit later, the winds would be a little less and Spring would eventually come. This year, the winds have followed me from a direction I cannot find, and when we thought Spring had come, we got 13 more inches of snow. 

Nasty trick Winter, nasty trick.

There is something I cannot doubt though, Spring is "here". It is hiding like an illusive child but it is here. (I say this knowing that "Winter Storm Yogi" is going to drop more snow on us Wednesday/Thursday. *sigh*)

Today I started my second week of this Ignatian Adventure and I am beginning to work on the Examen. If you aren't familiar with this practice, it involves prayerfully looking through your day at triumphs and sins and asking to be forgiven as you strive to be better. I apologize if I'm off base with this. Part of the challenge is to walk around today and enjoy God's scenery.

When I read that, I chuckled and said "yeah right, the wind is kicking up enough where road salt is sand blasting my car." Then it dawned on me, while I was running errands today the primary thought I had was "Oh the sun feels nice, and I haven't seen the sky this blue for a while." There I was, basking in the beauty of God's creation between stores and my car, trying to find Red Vines for a friends birthday.

Regardless of what I was doing out and about, I am glad I made it outside today. It is a gorgeous day in Minnesota and I am happy to be here, even if I'm writing this blog.

Then at work, I start seeing posts and tweets about the Boston Marathon. Another great day to be outside until I realize that this isn't what these messages are about. There has been a bombing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

The first I heard of it was from a message that a dear friend sent that she was praying for the victims in Boston. I have since then been praying and keeping up with the news myself. Just last year I knew of a priest who was running the marathon who dedicated each mile to a different prayer request. He had prayed each of the 26.2 miles and I don't know if he was back again this year.

I can't tell you how many times as a "responsible adult" I've been asked why God lets evil happen if he is completely good. What I've learned is that evil is just an easy definition.

If you were to ask me explain mathematical concepts of subtraction or division, I could tell you that they don't really exist. Subtraction and division is just another way to explain a way of addition and multiplication. 5 - 3 can be explained the same as 5 + (-3). Division is the same as multiplying by a fraction. Any scientist will tell you there is no such thing as "cold". If it is cold outside, it is the same as saying there isn't enough heat for it to be comfortable. It would be the same to say that darkness is the absence of light, white is the inclusion of all color and black is the absence of all color. 

Evil is the absence of goodness and grace.

True enough, God has given of himself and God is all things good and filled with grace. To be blunt, the absence of God, his love, his grace, is what we call hell.

What happened in Boston is horrible, we cannot work fast enough to help everyone who is affected by this tragedy. This was not an evil act, this was an act done with the absence of love for one's fellow person. That being said over the next few days we will hear many other stories. Stories of grace and love. Stories of people who ran in where darkness prevailed. These people will be hailed as heroes, I am happy to call these people grace filled, compassionate, individuals who did what was right. They have tended to the wounded, cared for the grieving and brought love into an unloving situation. They are God's love and grace in action. They are living out the Corporal Works of Mercy in our midst.

Then as one person in southern Minnesota I will do what I can, I will pray for those who have been affected and pray that God's grace and mercy touches those who did this today.

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is done in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us. Lead us not in
to temptation but deliver us from evil. World without end. Amen