Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh. Ezekiel 47
Remember, you have been cured. Give up your sins so that something worse may not overtake you. John 5
Today’s readings are about visions and miracles and, most important, remembering and living them.
The reading from Ezekiel recounts a vision. An angel leads Ezekiel to the entrance of the temple and shows him water flowing beneath the temple threshold. He leads Ezekiel outside and walks off a thousand cubits, has Ezekiel wade through water, first ankle-deep water, then flowing water mid-thigh deep, and another thousand cubits to chest deep water, finally another thousand to water so deep it could only be swum. He has Ezekiel sit beside the river and see the many trees, the living creatures beside it, and the abundance.
In the reading from The Gospel of John, we again have the metaphor of water. Jesus sees a sick person lying beside a healing pool but who has no one to help him into the water. Jesus tells him to “Stand up! Pick up your mat and walk!” And the man is immediately healed.
I was thinking about miracles and visions this morning. Most of the time, we think of visions as something that happened in ancient days to somebody much wiser than we are. And miracles? Well, they seem to be in short supply.
But I wonder if we’re looking in the wrong direction. Maybe the vision and the miracle we seek is really the interior one this Lenten season, the one that breathes, that welcomes each day, that gives thanks for the abundance of life.
Yes, there’s been an abundance of almost everything else lately, whether it’s money worries or family worries or computer glitches or automobile crashes. Yesterday morning, all I heard for several hours were sirens in various quadrants of our wider neighborhood.
And yet, there are visions all around us: the brown, year-old oak leaves still cling tenaciously to limbs – now there’s a vision of staying power! Spring, as stubbornly as it creeps in, is still creeping.
My shoulders and hips are feeling the struggles of these days, tight and unwilling to flex. But I still have shoulders and hips. That in itself is a miracle given the pounding I tend to give my body from time to time.
Remember you are healed.
When I look back on my life, I can see so many worse times than this – times when I was alone, fearful; times when I had no sense of security; times when nothing seemed to be going my way.
Even in the worst of times, we can see a vision of ourselves less fortunate than now. Maybe the vision and miracle of today is giving thanks for where we are at the moment.
Each day gives us an opening to walk into the water and release another burden. And that’s a vision that will keep us walking: walking through these last weeks of Lent.