This heavenly music originally available to only a select few is a fitting opening to Holy Week and a contemplative pause.
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Its Palm Sunday the start of Holy Week and today I join with the crowds in this jubilant sense of joy. I found myself waving the palm branches and sharing in the excitement of the moment even with the knowledge that this is Sunday but Friday is coming. Having spent the major part of my spiritually formative years in non liturgical church's where the season of Lent was not as well defined, each year brings a renewed sense of appreciation for the wisdom of a liturgical cycle.
When we come into these seasons we come with a community of others where each on us on our own journey are there on the road , singing Hosanna and waving the palm branches. This time seems to mirror moments in our own life that we had such a great sense of anticipation. Like the ancient Jewish worshipers , we stand with them believing that God would somehow rescue us some great calamity in our life . This is the moment we have waited for !.
The people on the road had preconceived ideas of what Jesus was about to do and how.He would fix there major problem. He would become their King, defeat the Romans , release them all from Oppression and restore Israel to its great glory.Perhaps there would be a few thunderbolts, a bevy of destroying death angels, some great plaque that would wipe the Romans from the face of the planet and set them free. Here was the King riding on the promised donkey. There Deliverer had come! Hosanna.! Any moment now it would happen.!
Perhaps you have been there standing with a family member around a death bed praying for recovery of cancer, watching a marriage fall apart, praying the Tornado will not hit, "fill your disaster in this box." You know the moment I am talking about. We have all had them. God has delivered us before He will do it again. This is our moment. The with wrenching faith shattering brutality the loved one dies, the broken marriage and the Tornado leave a pile of rubble ten miles wide and ten feet high and your house is lost somewhere under it. Only you and those around you are the trauma damaged survivors and perhaps a handful of faithful others are standing there looking up at the sky going What? This is not how we saw it working out.You were supposed to deliver us.!
We are numbed, stunned , later angry and disenchanted, so disappointed we seem to have forgotten how to pray or have any desire to. Here like Theresa of Avila her carriage hanging over a bridge in a storm, the wind and rain about to hurdle her off into the river addresses her friend Christ with the famous lines" If this is how you treat your friends no wonder you have so few of them"
We know this is about to happen to all these people waving the palm branches. Rapid disenchantment. We such high hopes for this one and He let us down. We thought He was the Messiah. We watch the crowd like Time Travelers on a liturgical journey and although we wave our palm branches and join in we do so with the knowledge of what is to come. We know the week goes down from here. We know there are beatings and scourging and the desertion of friends and a crucifixion. We know that they are about to crash from their high and stand like the people of Joplin Missouri after an F5. That look. What happened.! Friday is coming. Maybe that is what the F is in tornado's. The crucifixion was the F5 counter balance to these peoples joy.
It didn't work out the way they thought it would. Or at least in anyway they could understand.
There is a commonality in the the lives of the people standing on the road this Sunday and in the following days and the lives of women in support group recovery from abusive intimate relationships.
There is this sense of the great grief and destruction of being hit with an F5 experience.On your wedding day you were like the people standing on the side of the roads waving your palm branches in great joy and anticipation. Wonderful things were going to happen, then suddenly, things went from bad to worse and no amount multitudinous attempts to fix it worked. God didn't seem to have come through and you and your children are left with a handful of broken promises and wondering when the next tornado would hit. The Passion of Holy Week, mirrors this experience . The beatings , the denial by friends, the cruelty of others, the separation of loved ones, the abandonment by those who had promised they would be there for you, a sense of being publicly naked for all to see, lasts not just for one week , but for months, perhaps without intervention, years. The process of being in , getting out and recovering from an abusive relationship and other devastating tragedies of our lives, is best shadowed in Holy Week..,..and if we hold on to HOPE. ,,,the light of the resurrection.
We the Liturgical Time Travelers know that Palm Sunday, is followed by Holy Week, is followed by Easter the highest season in the Christian year. Somehow through this life F5 , Mary Magdalen watched at the Cross was there present on Easter Morning.. That same joy of Palm Sunday is once again renewed in the joy of the Resurrection. Somehow from death , life came. Transformational , inexplicable, overcoming life greeted her on Easter morning. We have this hope. Here in the liturgical cycle of the the church is the mirror for the tragedies and triumphs of our lives buried in Christ and renewed in the Resurrection.
We the Liturgical Time Travelers know that Palm Sunday, is followed by Holy Week, is followed by Easter the highest season in the Christian year. Somehow through this life F5 , Mary Magdalen watched at the Cross was there present on Easter Morning.. That same joy of Palm Sunday is once again renewed in the joy of the Resurrection. Somehow from death , life came. Transformational , inexplicable, overcoming life greeted her on Easter morning. We have this hope. Here in the liturgical cycle of the the church is the mirror for the tragedies andtriumphs of our lives buried in Christ and renewed in the Resurrection.
There are times for reasons that we do not understand, beyond our furthest ability to grasp that awful, horrid, wretched things happen to people who seen to be wonderful, God fearing Christians. We try to find some theology that will answer those questions well, but the most honest of us are left without any really solid answers and find that it is often the gift of Presence in this disaster that brings the most healing. We bring the transformational light of hope of Easter into places where the Passion of Holy Week is still a present reality. There is this reality of Faith. We cannot count the number of times we have been blessed or spared but for some reason like the folks in Joplin Missouri an F5 marks our lives somewhere along our journey. Bad things happen to good people . The blunt reality of this truth is painful. The Christian life is not always one big fan filled Palm Sunday ride into Jerusalem . Stuff happens. Monday, Tuesday , Wednesday , Thursday and Friday happen.
The whole Palm Sunday crowd who go from the mount of joy one week to the mount of the cross in the same week. We have this one promise that is unfailing through all this , through all the F5s of our lives..there is Friday but Sunday is coming. There is the hope of the resurrection, when even from darkest moment of our lives we know that Someone has gone there before us rolled the stone away. We come out of these F5s different people then when we went in. We have questions? We aren't the innocents standing waving Palm branches on Palm Sunday morning. We have the battle scars of people who have survived a F5 life event and still get a bit PTSD' ish when the sky gets dark , the wind starts to blow and the rain starts to come down in torrents. We want to believe He will rescue us , we want to believe it won't happen again but we have just seen too much to really Trust Him with our lives again. Where will we turn for help. There has to be something else that will work. So we try them and they come up empty. We try a long list of other things that will fill the pain left by our own F5 and the aching knowledge that God does not always rescue us from life disasters. Sometimes He does, sometimes He doesn't . It really feels like a kind of cosmic dice roll. Will you rescue me this time or not. Where will I find the healing balm that will fix this bottomless wound in my life that seems to have no answers to Who can I trust?.
Perhaps , someone who has been through the same thing. This is the wonder of support groups. We find other people who have gone through the same thing and create a kind of healing energy in our mutual journey towards healing. Sometimes on these journeys we have a kind of Epiphany moment. Who really understands ?. I struggled with the male Jesus and the male God. Love however made sense. A God who loved me made sense. A God who knew me intimately made sense. But the most healing came not from a perfect Jesus. Not from a superman type cartoon Jesus but from the Jesus of the Gospels. The Jesus who had friends who were women Who he are dinner with, took flack for hanging out with marginalized women, who had women with broken marriages, incurable diseases, mental health, adultery, and poured oil over his head and wiped his feet with their tears . These were Jesus friends. He ate with them, he wept with them, he took the hit of public scandal along with them . He died with them standing looking up at his marred face and body praying for a miracle. They became those people who had lost all in a F5 level disaster in their lives. They were his friends, they were His followers. He was there and then he was gone. In a horrific way.
But there was something in the love of these women. They wanted to do more. He had done so much for them they wanted and waited to do one last thing for them. Anoint his body. Love anoints a body. It reaches out and over looks the ugliness of death and pours love into the injuries. The healing in this relationship with Christ is not some theological text book explanation of the divinity of Christ but the simple realization that He loved them in their brokenness, he loved them when they were rejected by their world, and he loved them back to being the women they remembered they could be. The love of the Incarnation shone through this man, He touched them without betrayal. They could not find the words. They only knew that they had to be there, like He had been there for them.
The resurrection of Christ present to us with wounds in His side and hands brings to us a wounded Lover of our souls. He is one with us in identification , He is resurrected with wounds when he could have been resurrected perfect. Why was the Jesus who arose from the dead still a bearer of wounds?...... This is a potentially Epiphany moment question you may want to pause for a moment and consider..... Why did he say to Thomas who still doubted put your finger in my side and hands. He is a survivor of an F5 moment. He comes to us as a mutual survivor. He says see I too know pain. Whatever depth of personal or physical pain you have been in I too have been there. When you ask,,Where were you? . He simply holds out His hands. We don't know why bad things happen to good people. We don't know why Christian women are abused by their husbands as much as women in the general population. It seems to be a well kept secret. Some of them are even pastors wives. It's a hard reality to accept.
One avenue of healing starts in sitting with other women in supportive groups, from recognizing that they are not alone, gaining understanding about abuse and for many women rediscovering that beyond the darkness of abuse is hope. Broken trust is hard to heal. There is however Someone who identifies with our pain. He chose to keep the scars where we can see them so we know that He is one us. A wounded healer . This is the wonder of Holy Week. We find Him all along the journey. From our own broken dreams of the joys of Palm Sunday to the depth of abandonment of the Cross,,He it there with us ,,and we with Him on this long pilgrim journey of life towards the Resurrection.
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
So relaxing and restorative.
In honor of St.Patrick's Day a little reflective time with Celtic Music. The Celtic Christian Church has a wonderful spirituality to it and its roots go deep into ancient time. Just starting to listen to some of the ten hours of music. Wow.