Beloved Friends,

We are now heading in the “Holy thick of it” in short; the “Triduum,” marking the final days Jesus traveled with us here on earth. Yesterday was Maundy Thursday- the day we remember Jesus’ last supper and final act of humility and servant ministry washing the feet of his disciples. Today is Good Friday- the day we remember his final steps as we walk with him tonight as he makes his way to the cross. Tomorrow is Holy Saturday- day we wait in darkness enveloped by the darkness of death waiting and watching and then after all of that, we will greet the joyous arrival of Easter on Sunday morning. But before we reach that day we are invited to stay true to the path of following Jesus through the Passion narrative.

“Passion” comes from the Latin: passionem, translated as suffering, or enduring. As we heard this powerful narrative last Sunday and were reminded of the different parades of power coming into Jerusalem that day, I was reminded that each of us has the potential to celebrate, cheer, deny, betray, grieve and weep as we make our own way to the cross.

Against that backdrop, we continue to live in times of violence both domestic and abroad. And once again we are left trying to absorb recent horrific news, as we wrestle with what seems like overwhelming despair in the face of human violence. There are no simple answers as we try to make meaning where none is obvious; any attempt to explain falls short to me, and yet and still, in the midst of perhaps our own modern-day version of a passion narrative, I hold fast to the belief that our only antidote at times like this is to keep the faith, to hold on to our sacred story moving us forward, even to the grave, to lift our voices and make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia (Book of Common Prayer, 499). For short of that, as Richard Rohr asks, “How else would we not die of sadness for what humanity has done to itself and to one another?”

It is in Jesus’ ultimate renouncing of all violence and hatred that he offers to us a pattern and practice for our own lives.  When asked what it means to follow Christ, I wonder if our answer could be found in our daily lives proclaiming our absolute affinity to a ministry of healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation for ourselves, our community and our precious planet?

May we continue to walk in Jesus’ footsteps, boldly following a path of pure love- to and through the cross. Come home y’all; you who are weary, or ready, or reluctant, or eager, or faithful, or doubting. Your place is waiting among us Easter morning as we roll away the stone and see inside to find an empty tomb. Then at last we will arrive at the place where our faith truly begins, Easter morning, boldly proclaiming, Alleluia, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!

Christ Crucified is all of the hidden, private, tragic pain of history made public and given over to God. Christ Resurrected is all of that private, un-grieved, unnoted suffering received, loved, and transformed by an All-Caring God. How else could we believe in God at all? How else could we have any kind of cosmic hope? How else would we not die of sadness for what humanity has done to itself and to one another? The cross is the banner of what we do to one another and to God. The resurrection is the banner of what God does to us in return. Easter is the announcement of God’s perfect and final victory.       

(Franciscan brother, Richard Rohr)

May you never forget that you are loved.

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