This morning I stepped outside and could hear the birds singing after the rain that had passed in the early hours. It was a cacophony of sound---as if the birds were all checking on one another to make sure everyone was still there.
And then I heard a little girl singing in the midst of the birdsong. It was faint at first, but then it grew as she moved from her front porch on the house across the street to her driveway.
I strained to make out the song she was singing, but the sound was coming from too far away. Still, despite the fact I couldn't hear the words, the melody was plain, beautiful, simple, and absolutely glorious.
I found myself closing my eyes to listen to her song, which was accompanied by the sound of what seemed like a hundred different birds.
I don't know why I'm thinking of that now. Maybe it's because I've spent the entire day in meetings, in class, talking on the phone--busy with work, worried by a thousand different things, feeling like the day escaped me.
Have you ever had moments like that when a memory of something that you just experienced is so fresh that it comes to you in a flash, with all of the sights and sounds and feelings fully intact?
I decided that the songs I heard this morning were Resurrection celebrations--given voice by creatures great and small. And the little girl's singing provided the foundation of that celebration as she sang before the start of a new day, full of hope and joy and peace.
I imagine that in those moments what we are experiencing is nothing less than the very presence of the Risen Christ---meeting the day with a chorus of exaltation and the signs and symbols of new life all around.
It's in those moments that we feel the joy of Jesus, so to speak. We are reminded that a life spent stumbling after him might have long nights, full of storms. The way forward might be unclear as we follow, and there may be moments when we wonder if we can keep going.
And then the morning breaks, and the song begins again... and we do... keep going.
I read this awesome quote from Diana Butler Bass's newest book Freeing Jesus. I'd love to share it with you today as an exhortation and encouragement to you:
If we think that being with Jesus means getting the right answers from a creed or remembering points of doctrine from a sermon, we probably will not manage to truly know Jesus. We will only succeed in keeping the right responses scribbled on some back page of our memory.
Sometimes being with Jesus has nothing whatsoever to do with what you know, and everything to do with what you feel. May you find yourself in the presence of Jesus today, and may you celebrate.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.