by Rev. Dr. Daniel C. Wilburn
O God, each year you give us the happiness of celebrating the Lord’s resurrection.
By celebrating this feast that sanctifies time
may we attain the reward of rejoicing eternally.
– Grail Psalter for Easter Wednesday April 7th
I am struck by the Psalter’s insight that the gospel year “sanctifies time.” A good Lent makes for a good Easter. All those days of prayer, contrition, confession, abstinence and fasting – they make time valuable, those days are sanctified by our attentiveness to prayer.
I wish all my time was “sanctified.” I wish I would spend all my days at the King’s table. I wish I’d never leave. No gap between myself and g-d.
This is possible of course. To walk with Jesus each day is actually easy. It takes a rhythm, a routine, a reminder outside of our will, our self determination.
Wednesday morning around 6:00 a.m. I walked out to get the newspaper and the dark pre-dawn was fully awake and alive with the songs of dozens of birds. Their song was a blasting chorus of Spring. It was sweet and clear and joyous and energetic. “Delight” is the word that comes to mind – like a garden of delights, an Eden I suppose. I smile at my joy. I smirk at my cynicism, which lies just below the thought surface. I will not go there, or as J.R.R. Tolkien put it, ‘it isn’t a fairy story if we break the frame… you don’t want to take the soup apart into its individual pieces, but keep it a stew…” Get it? In other words do not say (I hesitate) don’t say “it’s just mating calls and territorial calls.”
The sanctification of that morning’s moment in time comes because I chose to NOT explain it. I just… joined in.
The music of heaven is all around us. The birds sing of the resurrection, the flowers point their faces toward the light. The colors flood back in vivid green; hawthorne trees shoot off their canons of white plume; purples and pinks stand for the coronation in full dress uniform. These are the moments of joy and new creation. Christ has risen, and our time is made holy because we paid attention.
I feel pity for those evangelical churches that do not observe Lent and Passion Week. They miss out on all that sanctified time.
A handful of us make our pilgrimage to Conception Abbey Friday for our contemplative retreat. We will rest and re-create and wrestle. But unlike our last pilgrimage in January with snowy fog, this April trip is always filled with crisp mornings abloom.
May we stand and praise the Author of time and be sanctified!