Wyoming has always been known for its wind. In fact, the word Wyoming itself is a Native American word meaning “a windy place.” That is an understatement for this Midwestern boy! The past few months, Wyoming has certainly been living up to its name, with many days of winds gusts anywhere from 35 – 70+mph. Wind seems to be one of nature’s precursors to Spring, and there are plenty of signs of Spring around.
This week in the office of readings, we read the passage from Exodus (chapters 33 – 34) which recounts the intimate relationship between God and Moses. What caught my attention is when Moses asks God to let him see his glory, to which God responds:
I will make all my beauty pass before you, and in your presence I will pronounce my name, ‘Lord’; I who show favors to whom I will. But, my face you cannot see, for no man sees me and still lives. Here, is a place near me where you shall station yourself on the rock. When my glory passes I will set you in the hollow of the rock and will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand, so that you may see my back; but my face is not to be seen.
This passage always makes me think of a similar encounter between the Prophet Elijah and God:
Then the Lord said, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by.” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing the rocks before the Lord – but the Lord was not in the wind. (1 Kings 19: 11)
And, of course, the wind makes me think of, well, Wyoming!
I found a fruitful meditation this week in these readings. I, as Moses and Elijah wish to have an intimate relationship with the Lord. I find it helpful to picture Jesus standing beside me, speaking to me, whether in the stillness of a breeze, or a powerful wind, or in the everyday events of my life. I know this is the reality, and it is good to call it to mind!
This week, I was hoping to take a few days for rest and prayer at St. Meinrad, but the death of the mother of one of my priests kept me here for a Friday funeral. Over the past few weeks, my brother has been putting together a logyard back home, and we were also hoping to saw some lumber this week. But, that plan did not come together either. Life is full of unmet expectations, and one must remain flexible and open to God’s unexpected detours.
This morning, with the wind finally taking a few hours off, I raked some leaves; a project which did not get completed this past Fall. And Sunday, I finally got around to keeping a promise to visit a local Catholic family and see their sheep operation. It was perfect timing with the arrival of this year’s crop of new lambs. I was struck by the dirty knees of everyone of the ewes and lambs. I know they kneel as they are preparing to lie down or stand up, but I could not help but recall the Scripture passage that proclaims: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” (Philippians 2:10)
Of course, lambs and sheep conjure up many other images of Jesus: Good Shepherd, Lamb of God, “Feed my sheep.”
I pray that no matter what your surroundings this Lent, you are experiencing a closer walk with the Lord. I pray, that no matter what unmet expectations you are experiencing, you may also discover how God’s grace is still actively present. May the Lenten journey and the signs of Spring renew your faith in the abundant life that is ours in Christ!