Returning to the Rhythm


Christ is risen!  Christ is risen indeed, alleluia!

Jesus the Christ has defeated death!  During the season of Easter we celebrate resurrection life!  In fact, the reason we gather every Sunday, and for every funeral or memorial service, is to celebrate resurrection.

How are you doing on your journey?  Are you doing the work God has given you to do, full of Easter life?  Or do you allow daily life to deaden you?

To remain rooted in Easter life, we must return to the rhythm of healthy daily life.  God has built this rhythm into creation – so we will be healthy spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

When we are healthy or unhealthy in any of these three spheres, that impacts our health or ill-health in the others.  (You’ve experienced this!  If you’re feeling a bit depressed you know how much better you feel when you get outside in the sunshine for a walk or a run or a bike ride.  Exercising your body improves your emotional health.)

We are at our healthiest spiritually, emotionally and physically when we are in the rhythm that God has created for us – spending time each day in prayer, exercising, in relationship with people who are healthy, eating foods and drinking beverages that are good for our bodies, getting good sleep.

What about when you are out of rhythm?

I’ve been thinking about one verse that we read, from Luke’s gospel, on the Third Sunday of Easter, our commission as followers of the risen Christ: “that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations.”  Let’s unpack two of those words.

“Repentance” means to return to the God who created us.  (Luther teaches us to practice this return daily, in his teaching on baptism – drowning the old person in us so the new person that God is creating can arise.)

Sin is our disconnection from God.  “Sins” (plural) refers to actions that come out of that separation.  They manifest themselves most frequently when we are out of the rhythm God has created for us.  We sin against our bodies, and our physical health suffers.  We become impatient and angry and self-centered, and sin against other people.  We forget the daily practices that remind us to be grateful for God’s blessings that come to us anew each day.  We come to think it is all up to us, and our spiritual and emotional health suffers from the effects of this sinfulness, this disconnect from God.

Daily life can easily become deadening.  It is easy to be disconnected from God who gives life – the God who is the source of all blessings, all compassion and love, all forgiveness!  Our need for repentance – for return – presents itself each day and, each time we return to the rhythm of health, Easter joy rejuvenates us!

What is your daily rhythm of health? What nourishes you spiritually and emotionally and physically?  Is that rhythm that God has created integrated into your life on this day?  If you’re disconnected, what would it look like to return to the rhythm tomorrow?

Easter blessings to you!

 

Pastor Andy Ballentine

 


About Pastor Andy Ballentine

Pastor Andy Ballentine loves being a parish pastor! Pastor Ballentine took his BA degree from the University of Virginia (with a major in sociology) and earned the Master of Divinity degree at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He earned the Master of Sacred Theology degree at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, with the thesis topic of: "How Benedictine Monastic Spirituality Nourishes Parish Ministry." He has completed the program of Spiritual Direction from the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. In the Virginia Synod, Pastor Ballentine has served as Dean of the Peninsula Conference and as chaplain to the candidates in the Virginia Synod’s Candidacy process (those on the way to being approved for ordained and professional ministries in the church). He has staffed many, many Virginia Synod youth events!