“The word is about, there’s something evolving,
Whatever may come, the world keeps revolving…
They say the next big thing is here, that the revolution’s near,
But to me, it seems quite clear
That’s it’s all just a little bit of history repeating.”- The Propellerheads
Yesterday, Linda and I spent the afternoon at the Dallas Arboretum, celebrating some good news we’d just received, that her surgery was successful in removing all of the cancerous tumor last week. We sat in a field of grass, the bright sun above us, surrounded by the last vestiges of purple and pink tulips amidst newly flowering azaleas – brilliant red, white, and pink. There is always something dying and something growing at the Arboretum. I suppose that is true about life in general.
On the way over to Dallas, we listened to a podcast called The Liturgists. The hosts were interviewing the contemplative Catholic writer and theologian, Richard Rohr, when one of the interviewers took off on the topic of our neurobiology. “Science has now shown that negative thoughts and ideas stick like velcro to neurons in the brain. They become almost impossible to shake. Our brain seems to feed on such thoughts. Strangely, positive experiences or thoughts have trouble connecting and staying attached in our brains. They just slide off, almost as if they never happened.” Rohr added that this is why we get stuck in negative patterns and patterns of fear so much more easily than positive and why we often feel things are getting worse around the world, when in fact they are getting better. Then he added something very interesting and said something like, “This is all very interesting to me because both science and contemplative practices are also discovering that if you spend just 15 seconds or so reflecting on and savoring the positive moment, holding it in mind and being present to it, instead of simply noticing it and moving on, then our brains begin to transform those negative patterns into positive ones.”
So Linda and I sat among the flowers and visitors and reflected on gratitude and beauty and offered as much of that as we could in our conversations with others at the Garden.
In this season of Easter, we remember that we are a people of a particular faith who know that at the heart of life and our very being God is offering something new. That each moment is pregnant with redemptive possibility and that love and light triumph over death and darkness. As Science Mike added in the podcast, saying even the darkness is filled with light. “In fact, four million photons per square meter of the darkness make up the cosmic microwave background radiation.” Life and light remain present in the darkest moments of space.
I met with a bunch of guys last night for a regular Wednesday gathering and we were talking about the same podcast when someone asked, “Are things getting better or are they getting worse?” Piggybacking on what Rohr spoke of in the podcast, one of our group suggested, “It’s more than simply how we perceive things. But it’s still a challenge to notice the positive and to witness to life. And that seems to me what it means to participate in the resurrected Christ in whom we live and move and have our being. Doesn’t that change things for the better?”
This Sunday, April 8, I am beginning a new 5 week series that will take us to Pentecost, entitled, I’ll Take Passion for $200, Alex. I want to explore this idea of resurrection and how we can choose to live passionately, engaged in joy and hope in a world (and a church) that seems lost in divisiveness and fear.
I hope you can join us.