Signs of Spring and New Life

Three Easter Mandalas
An acrylic paining of three overlapping, brightly colored mandalas with Easter themes over an inverted triangle with fiery colors. Image courtesy of Rachael Keefe

What awakens your spirit? What overwhelms you with beauty, wonder, or awe?

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In recent days I’ve spotted the season’s first daffodils and crocuses as the last of the snow piles melted. Along with the flowers and the warmer weather, I’ve noticed bluebirds in abundance in the local park. I don’t remember seeing so many of them in the past.

These are glorious signs of spring that remind us that everything really does have a season, and spring always follows winter (even when the winter is mild and the spring is short). It’s good to be reminded of spring and the fact that there is still beauty in the world.

While I was busy observing the clear signs of spring, in other places in the country the eclipse was the news of the week. And many people report being overwhelmed to the point of tears by the sight of the eclipse. At first I thought this was strange. I mean why would an eclipse make so many people cry?

Then it occurred to me that this is evidence of a decline in spiritual awareness and connection, or at least the ability to express such a connection. I’m not saying that church in general has done a great job with fostering healthy spirituality and spiritual express historically, because I don’t think it has.

However as people leave faith communities of all kinds, they often leave the intentional care of their spirits. Community, a sense of belonging and being valued and known, is essential to well-being. I think many people are missing this and are in need of deeper connections and places to share them.

Of course, the sight of an eclipse is powerful; I’m not saying that it isn’t. I wonder, though, if people were more connected to spiritual communities and were able to explore their spirituality more regularly, would the eclipse have been as moving as it was for them? Maybe. Maybe not.

Now it makes me wonder if we at Living Table encourage exploration and and expression of spirituality and spiritual experiences enough. What awakens your spirit? What overwhelms you with beauty, wonder, or awe? Do you share those experiences with anyone? Will you share them here?

For me it is often the ordinary things. The first glimpse of spring flowers, the bluebirds building their nests, the eagles flying overhead… The sound of laughter echoing through the neighborhood as children play, the boom of thunder, the rhythm of the rain on the roof…

There is a power evident in all these things. It is Life. It is the reminder that I am a small part of an enormous Cosmos. These are moments of peace, of connection, of joy. And they spark gratitude.

May we all be blessed by moments of deep spiritual connection with Creation and created alike. And if you do experience any moment, please share it here so we can share in your joy.


About Rachael Keefe

Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ. She was called to Living Table in 2015 after serving in many varied ministry settings since her ordination in 1992. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale (formerly Andover Newton Theological School). Her ministry and leadership often center around advocacy and accessibility. Her writing has been published by Chalice Press, The Christian Century, Red Letter Christians, Working Preacher, RevGalBlogPals, and others. She is grateful to be in ministry with Living Table today.

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