New Blades of Grass
Emily Munro-Hernandez, Upper School Social Studies

One of my goals over the Spring Break was to get outside more deliberately and enjoy a good walk, which I have always found to be a wonderful invitation to look around and be mindful. As I went on my walks, whether in drizzle or sunshine, one thing became immediately clear: it was delightfully easy to find new green blades of grass and blossoms on plants everywhere. Spring has sprung! Not only is the world changing before our eyes, but we can feel the weather turning warmer and the sunshine lasting longer. 

In the context of these visceral experiences and in preparation for writing this blog post, I also decided to perform one of my favorite forms of meditation & prayer to gather my thoughts: the lectio divina. This age-old practice is to focus on the words and images of a selection of scriptural text, asking what is not only happening in the passage, but what selection means for you. 

So I chose some scriptural readings from 1 Kings 17 and John 20: 1-18, which have themes related to Easter, our current season. Both passages center on resurrection: first, there’s the success of the prophet Elijah’s prayer in helping a widow and her son, and then there is the image of the disciples of Jesus rushing into an empty tomb, initially confused, but with the final image of the Beloved Disciple simply ‘believing’. 

As I thought a little more about these passages, it occurred to me that for some people, especially those who read scripture strictly through a lens of logic, admittedly these passages are hard to digest. The idea of resurrection seems unbelievable, perhaps even foolhardy for the most cynical listener. Yet, in fact, every single religious tradition has stories that defy reason. And that, of course, is because one of the very foundations of religion is faith. Faith asks us to believe in a framework, an understanding of how the world operates, without always having definitive proof. Maybe I should even go further than using the word “ask” - sometimes it feels like faith demands us to maintain our beliefs despite moments of real doubt & uncertainty. Religious traditions frequently ask us to believe in a world that, frankly, operates beyond our senses and knowing. 

But why believe in something you can’t see? Why believe in something you can’t reason out? 

What I found interesting in the two readings from today is that the act of faith actually came after seeing a miracle. The widow only believes in Elijah’s relationship with God after her son is resurrected. In John’s Gospel, the disciple Thomas is actually pretty doubtful about the resurrection. In fact, Thomas adamantly refuses to believe that it happened until only after Jesus appears to him and even only after he touches Jesus’ wound. 

So maybe these passages encourage us to see that a perfect faith does not require having blind faith. Faith can and should be built on what it is you do see. By finding validation of your faith in the world, we can savor the joy of hopes realized. 

This makes me return to the images of spring I began with, which certainly seem like tangible signs that our hopes can be realized. Think about it - isn’t it a miracle whenever a flower starts to peep out of the ground, showing life where there was once cold, hard dirt? And despite the 

heaviness of listening to the news and hearing of injustices, we should also remember the good news that also occurs. For example, although living under Covid at its peak was certainly long, difficult, and horrific, it can feel like a miracle has happened when the development of vaccines has enabled us to feel the joy of easy hugs with friends and family again. And let’s not forget the miracle of the good work of people who put in the work of making medical interventions and other services more accessible and equitable across communities. Overall, there is a miracle when people, including at this very school, have dedicated themselves to finding new ways to show love and care for each other during difficult, uncertain times. 

Where are the miracles, both big and small, that help you operate within a framework of faith and hope? What blessings and moments of grace have you experienced that reveal themselves to be proof of faith and hopes realized? We may not need to look far to be in awe of how much in our lived experiences are miracles. And finally, how are you, in this spring, called to find new ways to love and care for others and to bring that good news to others?