This weekend I was in Austin with family to celebrate my brother’s graduation from McCombs School of Business. A joyous occasion! At the tail end of my Saturday morning jog, I came across one of Austin’s many murals and couldn’t help but stop to snap a quick photo. The spray paint adorned a rather traditional Episcopal church, which felt – like most of Austin – a bit weird. (So I suppose it wasn’t out of place at all, but rather to be expected…)
I do find it rather peculiar, however, that we humans need to be consistently reminded not to fear new life. Why do we fight the fresh, even when God promises that it’s good? Why do we cling to old coping mechanisms, long after they’re worn out? Why are we so prone to dig our heels in against change?
Due to this mural’s placement, I assumed the web address was surely an outreach effort leading directly to the St. David’s Episcopal Church homepage. I was reluctant to explore, but as usual my curiosity won out. And as usual, open-mindedness proved to be a good thing.
Turns out that NewLifeHappens.org is a daily photo blog hosted by St. David’s. The “About the Project” page reads:
New life happens. Easter is not just a day, it is a way of life. This Easter season, we want to collectively engage the spiritual practice of capturing glimpses of new life through snapshots. We will gather our photos on this website (newlifehappens.org) and celebrate our collective discoveries in a festive party on May 27th, Pentecost Sunday.
As you enter this practice of noticing new life, we invite you to consider this larger wisdom: new life does not happen in a vacuum. Before a seed sprouts, it is buried deep in the dark soil, willing to be fractured. Before resurrection came the terror of Jesus’ crucifixion. “Do not be afraid” precedes “New life happens.” Interestingly, fear also follows new life. Seedlings are vulnerable and life holds many harsh unknowns. When the fearful disciples gathered, Jesus appeared, offered peace, and encouraged them to not be afraid in the midst of a new and mysterious resurrection reality. Who would have imagined the new life to be found in tongues of fire, unknown languages, or us? As we open our eyes to new life this Easter, we open to risk: we never quite know where or how new life will appear nor what that new life will become within or among us. Even the creative process of participating in this adventure will be a risk. Join us as we celebrate the whole story of Easter: Do not be afraid. New life happens. Do not be afraid. New life happens.
A beautifully written description, in my opinion, and the daily photos add even more clarity and depth. The blog will run for 7 more days; if you have a chance, give it a look. If you dare, consider submitting a contribution. At the very least, remember to open your eyes and look around… Where do you see new life happening?