Easter Season Guest Author Series: the Rev. Madeline Shelton Hawley on Mark 16:4
by The Rev. Madeline Shelton Hawley | April 19, 2018“But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.”
It’s not often that we come face to face with boulders blocking our path. But maybe you’re more of a hiker than I am! More often than not, I find what blocks my path these days is an internal struggle. It’s the resentment I can’t seem to shift, the jealousy I can’t move beyond, the self-doubt that stops me from moving forward. These existential boulders feel all the more weighty and substantial for being so intangible! I often crave something concrete and physical to grapple with. Then I might be able to push my shoulder into it and give into the illusion that I might have some control. But these internal boulders are the kind that I have to ask God to help me shift through prayer. Simply put they’re unmanageable on my own.
A few years ago I found that I was stymied by a large boulder in my way. I had been trying to move around it for several years with no success. I couldn’t move forward. You see, I used to be an artist. I painted, I doodled, I made sculpture, I sewed. Making things was a part of my life. But a big old creative block sat in the midst of my path, and I couldn’t even budge it. I stopped painting. I stopped making sculpture. I stopped making pottery. I spent creative energy on writing sermons instead of on art. And the internal boulder began to become more and more substantial. The more I ignored it, the more I realized I couldn’t shift it myself.
So I began to ask God to help roll away that creative block. It started small, journals and prayers for clarity and vision. I began to ask God to help me nurture others’ creativity. I began to believe that God wanted my art to bring beauty into the world. Even if it was only my little corner of the world. The first paintings and doodles became precious, and even more precious was the process that let me engage again with art. When the stone that blocks the flow of new life is rolled away, it’s like letting out a breath you didn’t realize you were holding. It’s a moment of relief and moving forward. The thing that stood in your way has been pushed aside. God has made possible what before was impossible.
I wonder what stone in your own life you need God’s help to move? Where is new Easter life seeking to burst out and make you feel God’s love?
God is waiting. Waiting to bring new life and new promise to your soul.
The Rev. Madeline Shelton Hawley
Maddie is the rector of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in south Austin, TX.