Today I saw an old fashioned tea set where the tea pot, milk jug and sugar bowl were all shaped as white bunnies. Very cute, but not very practical! Of course we will be celebrating Easter. Soon there will be chocolate galore, eggs, rabbits, chickens and even bilbies! All these symbols are reminders of life, especially life when to all intents and purposes, there is only death.
Christians focus on the symbolism of light in darkness, on the saving action of God through the whole history of the Israelites, and most of all on the resurrection of Jesus. There is a lot to enjoy by celebrating Easter with family, friends, community and Church. I’m going to pick up the third theme from Slee’s (2016) research into women’s spirituality, awakening, and explore this thread in my life.
There were times when I was ‘half-dead’ and I struggled along, in situations that only half suited me. In my efforts to do the right thing, I was only partly alive. There were, and still are, times when I feel like the Church, which was so important to me, is a place of decay.
There were also times when I was in isolated, remote and foreign places and discovered utter delight and joy.
It’s not only about location but also about times of grieving the loss of significant people. A kind of reawakening occurs but the grieving goes on forever.
In my faith, I’ve had moments of stupendous awakening. Some were in times of prayer, others were the gift of new perspectives from wise and holy people. It took me a long time to really believe in a God of love. I’ve been so appreciative of the awakenings that have come through the writings of Joan Chittister, Elizabeth Johnson and so many others. They are women of deep spirituality, intelligence and integrity. I love the astute storytelling style of Joan which always packs a challenging punch and urges me continually to wake up my spirituality and live it! I value the intelligent and incisive theological writing of Elizabeth Johnson. She keeps on investigating new themes and breaking new ground with how she reclaims and re-expresses the heritage of the Catholic Church.
Even though I feel on the fringe of the Church, I still have hope for a reawakening. For me, this will have to involve a greater role for women in the Catholic Church and a breaking down of patterns of dominance and exclusion.
So, as you look at eggs, bunnies, chickens and so on, consider where and how you have known awakenings in your life and spirituality. I’d love to hear from you.
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Read more about Andrea’s thoughts Easter traditions below