Annual events keep us honest as we review what we find important in life. After a whole year has passed, we evaluate how we did towards a particular goal. Maybe there is room for improvement, or maybe we did better than expected, and we have reason to be happy.
For Christians, Easter is the perfect birthday to claim life, joy and peace. The resurrection of Christ indicates the abundant love of God shared with the world. When is Easter? It depends. Last Sunday was Easter for Western Branch Christians. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Easter arrives this week. But rather than focusing on dates and specifics, all Christians around the world can claim deep unity through truths based on divine union and the continuing, unrelenting qualities of God’s creative power.
Two more annual sightings are with us these weeks, notably for those in America. One is Earth Day, Friday, April 22. The other is the National Day of Prayer, scheduled for Thursday, May 5. Both events are calls for greater awareness of our interconnectedness. They are invitations to humility and a reminder of our trust in grace for the journey of life.
As citizens of the world, residents of planet Earth, with each breath we uniquely receive God’s gift of life, held in delicate balance. The early Church took shape as the Spirit of Christ breathed peace into believers, the sound of a mighty wind moving among those gathered for the feasts and celebrations of Pentecost. This gift continues to flow and shape a variety of missions, ministries and visions that help us embody the call of Christ as disciples.
For Christians, environmental stewardship takes the Incarnation seriously, claims respect for life beyond our individual perspectives, and guides the proper care of God’s gifts. The larger Earth and other created beings are companions, subjects to communicate and learn from, rather than objects to be used.
The National Day of Prayer helps many people to ask for forgiveness for how we have failed others, ourselves and failed to live for God’s intention, locally, nationally and globally. Prayer is the original wireless connection. In prayer we find hope deeper than despair and inspiration stronger than guilt. Each deep breath of prayer provides far more satisfying freedom than limited ego satisfaction. Prayer calls us out of ourselves, while helping us to deepen our true selves, created in the image of God for true service to others. Prayer gives shape to our humble thanks.
Annual events remind and encourage us as we join in the continuing mission of the Living God in the Spirit. Some annual events require vocal expressions and an active response, while others may require vigils of silence and a focus of consciousness for the highest good. Whichever route is chosen, the ripple effects spread to the glory of God.
As we observe Earth Day and hear the call for a National Day of Prayer, ask how God uses these events to remind you of what is important. These annual celebrations offer to help express the joy of Easter and deepen the grace-filled bonds of intertwined relationships. Let the Spirit of God flow through you to help light and life shine and flourish.
Rev. Andy Kennaly serves as pastor at First Presbyterian Church, 417 N. Fourth Ave., Sandpoint. He can be reached at fpcsandpoint.org or by phone at 208-263-2047.