Dear Sanctuary NYC Friends,
The number forty is said by some to be the number of completion; by others, to be the number of journey. Whatever the number symbolizes, it is true that there are many biblical references to forty: years in the wilderness out of Egypt, days of flooding, days in the wilderness of temptation for Jesus. And in this late winter, early spring transitional time, the observance of Lent is also a 40 day period.
My niece Ellie was dressed as a six year old Queen Esther the other day for a Purim celebration. So many holidays, or holy days, of so many traditions begin to come together at this time of year, as people for millennia have appealed to the life force, the Creator God, for renewal, for a way out of the deep dark mid winter. In the Christian tradition, the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus is the most powerful observance and source of hope for many.
The need for an inner journey, into the underworld of loss, grief, even of depression, can be a part of the reclaiming of the entirety of who we are. Many wonderful secrets reside in the underworld of our psyches, or unconscious mind. The shadow self has much to teach the outer self. It behooves us to listen for its wisdom.
One of the things I missed most about living in a four seasons world was the sweet encouragement for taking that inner walk that comes from real dark, cold days, rainy days, wonderful snow and ice followed by a hint of spring, a crocus popping up through the earth, the emergence from the underworld one more time of life out of seeming death. This month we will be focusing on the theme “I Know I’ve Been Changed”, and we will be taking the inner journey together toward a resurrection day on March 31st.
The caterpillar has a life of its own, and when it is time, it retreats into a chrysalis of its own creation. The transformation that happens while that caterpillar becomes a butterfly takes time. That is our forty days.
When the butterfly emerges, the DNA of that beautiful creature is different from that of the caterpillar from which it was created. It is an amazing mystery, and so are you.
Can’t wait to see you Sunday for yet another step along the Path together.
We love to see your face,