An important question for every pastor to ask her/himself is: “Where will I go to be fed? Who will be the shepherd that keeps me on the right path? Who can I turn to when my spiritual life becomes an arid, depressing, and meaningless wasteland? (Yes, this happens to Pastors, too!) I will confess in my earlier days of ministry, I was too proud or naïve to believe I needed anyone outside of me and my God. Guess what? It didn’t work. So I began to develop a list of names who I can turn to for spiritual direction. After Heather and I were married, she introduced to another spiritual writer, Joan Chittester. She is a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, PA. Joan is a woman of depth, candor, and wisdom. Below is a resurrection reflection followed by prayer. It is powerful. I pray it is an inspiration for all of you.
To say ‘I believe in Jesus Christ . . . who rose from the dead,’ is to say I believe that the Resurrection goes on and on and on forever. Every time Jesus rises in our own hearts in new ways, the Resurrection happens again. Every time we see Jesus where we did not recognize him before — in the faces of the poor, in the love of the unloved, in the revelatory moments of life, Jesus rises anew. The real proof of the Resurrection lies not in the transformation of Jesus alone but in the transformation awaiting us who accept it.
To say, ‘I believe in Jesus Christ . . . who rose from the dead,’ is to say something about myself at the same time. It says that I myself am ready to be transformed. Once the Christ-life rises in me, I rise to new life as well. ‘Christ is risen, we are risen,’ we sing at Easter. But it has a great deal more to do with life than with death. If I know that Jesus has been transformed, then I am transformed myself, and as a result, everything around me.
Until we find ourselves with new hearts, more penetrating insights, fewer compulsions, less need for the transient, greater awareness of the spiritual pulse of life, resurrection has not really happened for us. Jesus has risen but we have not. Resurrection is change at the root of the soul. It marks a whole new way of being in life.
Jesus, help me to understand that in every life, something good fails, something great ends, something righteous is taken unjustly away, something looms like an abandonment by God. Give me the wisdom to know that You rose from the dead as a sign to us that every one of these ‘little deaths’ is life become new all over again. Be with me in living Your Resurrection over and over again. Amen.