New Wind, New Flesh

Experiments in my first science class at school left an indelible impression on my imagination. I was particularly fascinated when the physics teacher covered a hefty bar magnet with a sheet of paper and then sprinkled iron filings over it. We made the filings jump about by banging the table and when they fell back they aligned themselves into a graceful fern-like pattern, revealing the invisible lines of force emanating from the magnet below. That’s why I love this sentence from the Easter sermon in John Updike’s novel A Month of Sundays: “Still to this day ... the rumor lives, that something mitigating has occurred, as if just yesterday, to align, like a magnet passing underneath a paper heaped with filings, the shards of our confusion, our covetousness, our trespasses on the confusions of others, our sleepless terror and walking corruption.”

Again in Eastertide we sense that the resurrection of Jesus has started to pull the scattered impulses of our lives into a new pattern. We realize afresh that Christian life is essentially powered by hope, a passion for the unprecedented, possibilities for life in our world that have never been seen before. We recall that Christian life is not a religious ideology to be propagated, but an actual incorporation into the person of the risen Christ and an intimate experience of divine indwelling, through the Spirit active and present in the heart and in our relationships.

Martin L. Smith is an Episcopal priest serving at St. Columba’s Church in Washington, D.C.

[ May 6 ]
Sink Deep Your Roots
Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 22:25-31;
1 John 4:7-21; John 15:1-8

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