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Last evening, it happened again outside my study window. Breezes parted the dense foliage of the summer snowflake viburnum shrub and a glimmer of red shot through—what looked like almond-shaped red feathers on the top of the cardinal’s head; around him, a twiggy nest. He may have been there through the night.

And this morning, his mate was in full view making her way up through the branches toward the nest. There, she remained, hidden. Like last year, she and her mate selected a protected site for their brood and their later frantic feeding.

Preparing for fledgling life continues.

Plink—Plink—Plinkk—Plankkk … It was happening again—the raindrops—upon the chimney cover plate above me: soft, feathery at first, then pounding like hooves of galloping horses in the wilds. I hurried to the window and looked out. Not only would thirsty trees and shrubs benefit, but my psyche, always in need of deep watering, would thrive. Enthusiasm mounted. But that was weeks ago. In recent years prolonged dry spells have warded off such drenchings in our area.

This morning, though, an unexpected excitement seized me while listening to the radio: Cuban Landscape with Rain that was written by the Afro-Cuban composer and conductor Leo Brouwer. Despite the waning sun’s hastening dryness, for seven minutes it was raining in my study, thanks to the giftedness of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. I was saturated with Beauty. It felt good …

YouTube has many presentations of Cuban Landscape with Rain for your inspiration.

Christ was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross. But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all other names…

These verses are taken from the Christological hymn that Paul quotes in his letter to the Philippians (56 C.E.) and serve as the leitmotif for Holy Week. Each day’s events underscore the humility of Jesus, beginning with His triumphal entry into Jerusalem at Passover seated upon the back of a donkey.

Sensing his earthly mission coming to a close, and in the wake of that, conflict, he orchestrated this bit of drama. He knew his few followers would misinterpret his action in their craving for a political Messiah to rout the hated Romans. Psalm 118’s “Blessings on the King who comes…,” fueled their frenzy and drew the Pharisees’ censure watching this spectacle unfold through streets thronged with pilgrims. Jesus’s intent was to image the peaceful Messiah, only later grasped by his followers after his resurrection.

Years of meditation on this curious story, recorded in the four gospels, have deepened my sense of Jesus Christ, totally other than first perceived. Like his first followers, I still get trapped in expectations of what I want, when I want it, how I want it. My terminal illness, however, casts urgency upon learning to listen, anew, to his Father for direction, to practice humility and obedience, one day at a time.

The future holds my final days before transitioning from them. There’s no preparing for them. They will unfold, as they will.

 

 

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