Friday, April 16, 2010

Other Spring Thoughts

Spring is here at last, and first love is the budding and flowering that signals rebirth. Recently, I was feeling a little sad that things were progressing so fast at times I could not take it all in. But then I realized another aspect of spring: the rebirth is unbounded.

Listen to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring - the music approaches a frenzy at time, almost out of control. Spring is a primative season and cannot be tamed!

Spring is the season of love, especially young love. I remember a spring walk through the Riverway park, talking and enjoying each other's company.... Even as I'm many years older now, it's a season that re-energizes me to get outside and walk and ride my bicycle and feel the warmth of the sun.

Speaking of love, I will also have a special place in my heart for my hometown of New York City. There's no place like it. I was there last weekend for the briefest of stays (about 5 hours) for a family gathering, but on a hotel rooftop, I could watch the sun set over the Hudson River and dusk arrive as the skyline lit up.

But I still haven't seen my favorite New York City park, the High Line Park built on the old railroad trestle down the west side of Manhattan. (Check out my blog post from last spring on this wonderful reuse of an industrial structucture.) Well, next year will be the first with an "empty nest" so a weekend in Manhattan (with a visit to the High Line) may be possible!

Photo below is from

Friday, April 2, 2010


Good Friday was warm and sunny, a sure sign that spring has come. I had taken time off from work to focus on these days, which are central to the Christian faith. Especially for those who were brought up as Christians from birth (such as I), Good Friday can come and go without much reflection. We know what it’s all about: we know the story of betrayal, arrest, questioning, torturing, and death of Jesus.

This year I spend part of the day walking and reflecting. I wanted to have some time set aside from the daily routines so I could maybe gain a new understanding of what this day means to me.

I had thought of going to a church to reflect, but something about the warm day and sunshine seemed to be drawing me outside – perhaps in the warmth of the day, I could find a quiet place where I might be lead to an understanding.

My question was how should recall this day. Do I focus on the suffering and death of Jesus? How would Jesus want us to recall this day?

Gratitude. That is the understanding that came out of my reflections. That is simply what Jesus would want me to feel about his suffering and death. Profound gratitude.

The deed is done; never again need Jesus suffer and die. As some would say “His pain is our gain.” We are freed from sin and Jesus taught us how to live our lives.

Since the deed is done, once and for all time, it is not necessary to focus on the brutal treatment Jesus received. This suffering is described in the Gospels and portrayed in detail in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. The suffering is fact, but the fact or details of the suffering should not the focus point of our understanding of what it means for our lives.

I don’t believe Jesus wants us to suffer unnecessarily. We don’t need to invite suffering, because life will present each of us with our own share of suffering. Or friends or family around us will have their share of suffering. But we know Jesus understands our suffering and is with us. And I believe Jesus wants us to be with each other in the suffering and needs that we experience in life. I believe that being with each other in their time of suffering or need is the good way to demonstrate our gratitude for what Jesus did.

Gratitude. Gratitude for profound love for us that Jesus demonstrated. Gratitude for showing us a way to live and be with others. Gratitude. That is how I would sum up the meaning of this Good Friday.