We are getting ready to turn the corner and move from Lent into Holy Week as we gather this Sunday. We will soon begin our final week with Jesus marking the final days he traveled with us here on earth. And as we move through our events and service this week: Wednesday: Speak Truth to Power, Thursday: Feast of Friends, Friday: Stations of the Cross we begin to anticipate, ever so slowly, the imminent arrival of Easter morning on Sunday. This Sunday we will gather and be wrapped up in the telling of the Passion narrative, the story of Jesus’ final entrance in Jerusalem followed by the days leading up to the crucifixion. “Passion” comes from the Latin: passionem, translated as suffering, or enduring. As we hear this powerful narrative, we will be reminded 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 are living in times of continued, if not increased violence both domestic and abroad. As we make our way to the cross we are also trying to absorb contemporary realities of violence, religious intolerance, racial divisions and political unrest. There are no simple answers it seems, if there ever were, and any attempt to explain or deny the chaos all around us 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 below, “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 at the Table of Love we will set 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.