Spring Devotional from Rev. Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster
The season of Easter extends from today (Easter Sunday) to Pentecost Sunday (May 23). It is a fifty day period that explores the mystery of Jesus’ post-resurrection realities. After the long season of Lent in which we examine our lives through the themes of repentance, forgiveness and morality, this season of Easter offers relief, hope, a breath of fresh air.
I have chosen the theme Immeasurably Immersed for a few reasons.
- First, we have been immeasurably immersed in pandemic life for more than a year now. This spring, for me at least, brought up memories of what it felt like last spring to be forced into a situation of global and personal reorientation. The total immersion into an ever-unfolding world-spanning crisis is disorienting, and as we all unpack our own individual and communal experiences in the last year, we remain immeasurably impacted by something both beyond and just-barely-within our control.
- Which leads me to my second reason for the theme Immeasurably Immersed: each of us, in our own personal lives, experience persistent encounters of immersion – major life changes like becoming a parent, maybe, or losing a loved one, moving, taking a new job, or possibly fractured relationship, job loss, a major injury, infertility, or a sudden shift in priorities, even. Apart from pandemic immersion, we each have our own experiences of life changing phenomena that put us in tune with the spirituality of such immersion.
- Thus the last reason for Immeasurably Immersed: when things change, when life is turned upside down, when we experience a shift within our lives, we have an opportunity to connect to God in a new way. That is the crux of the Easter story: the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth changed our sense of who we (humans) were and are. Jesus Christ shifted, immeasurably, our relationship with God. God was there, in Jesus Christ, showing us the way, the truth, the life. Within the many paradoxes of our faith, God was immersed in humanity, just as we seek to be immersed in God.
Immersion into a new way of life requires vulnerability, our whole selves adapting to a new environment, a new way of life. Sometimes it happens by choice, and other times nothing can stop the change from happening, whether or not it is a welcome shift. There is something spiritual about those moments of immersion. And, there is something immeasurable about the divine presence in our everyday lives.
This daily devotional – Immeasurably Immersed – will explore ancient, tangible, relatable, spiritual practices that deepen our openness in and to the presence of God. Sometimes we intentionally adopt a new faith practice. Other times, it is as if the spirit of the living God is tugging us toward a new way of tending to the divine within us. God leads the way. The ways we practice our faith impact us immeasurably: we cannot quite ever quantify how God’s presence shifts us to live differently. What we do know is that God’s presence moves within us in embodied, tangible, life giving ways.
This devotional is indebted to a stack of books now spread across my desk:
- Receiving the Day by Dorothy C. Bass (2000)
- Living into Community by Christine D. Pohl (2012)
- Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun (2005)
- A Spiritual life by Allan Hugh Cole Jr. (2011)
- Crafting a Rule of Life by Stephen A. Macchia (2012)
- Soul Feast by Marjorie J. Thompson (1995)