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adowntonToday on my trek to the kitchen for coffee I was grateful for conversation already in progress there about last evening’s finale of Downton Abbey. Every relationship was either happily resolved or at least sufficiently hinted at so that no one was “left out in the cold.” After six seasons of trial and error, distress and turnabout, the acceptance of change and hope for the future provided a fitting and worthy conclusion.

With that smile of remembrance I proceeded to my daily task which seems now as hopeful as the coming spring in every text I encounter. I see connection in it all but perhaps it is simply the fact of today being Monday that has brought such willingness to greet the day. Below is the collage; see if it holds together in any coherent way.

  1. Isaiah 65: 17-21 begins with God saying Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create…
  2. Psalm 30 sings of transformation because of God’s mercy: You have changed my mourning into dancing; O Lord, my God, forever I will give you thanks.
  3. The verse before the gospel urges and then promises: Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and the Lord will be with you.
  4. The gospel (JN 4: 43-54) tells the story of the royal official whose son is cured simply by a word of Jesus. As a result he and his whole household came to believe.
  5. To that alternation of God’s action and the resultant good effect on humanity, I add a Monday word from Jan Phillips that pushes toward the future  – first a prayer (Wake me from my sleep and rouse me/ break through my dreams like a bird/ Be the voice that guides me/ Let your kindness flow through me day and night.) and then a reflection on personal spiritual authority that takes me back to the beginning after the end of Downton Abbey. She writes:

When you think of the people who have inspired you, changed your thinking, altered the course of your life, are they not the ones who spoke and lived from the heart? Are they not the ones who stand before you with the courage to simply be who they are, to share their visions, their struggles, their fears? This is the stuff of spiritual authority – this transparency, this risking, this willingness to say, “It’s a new frontier here, and not one of us has a map, but with what we know together, we can surely make it.”   (No Ordinary Time, p. 24)

So let us go forward in hope!