Good Friday

Good Friday: The Passion of the Lord

“Truth!” said Pilate. “What does that mean?”  

I woke early this morning to lightning flashes. Soon a storm rolled in on the wings of thunder. The morning is dark, a somber quality that fits the day.

Yesterday’s bright promise also fit: the day active and springing-into-fullness, culminating in the Holy Thursday service when we blessed the oils for the coming year; celebrated the Eucharist; and stripped the altar bare.

That stripping the altar ritual is never empty for me. Even though each week we put everything away and pack up the altar coverings, the act of stripping the altar as part of the service ritual has a very different feel and meaning.

The table is empty. What will fill it?

What is our “truth” of this Easter Triduum? Is our truth focused on the experience Jesus went through – we do our best not to dwell on THAT too long except in the abstract; is our truth focused on Sunday morning’s service with beautiful music and maybe new clothes – or at least spring clothes, thank you. Is there shopping still to do? Where is our focus? What is our truth?

The sky grows darker. The first raindrops hit the window.

My thoughts – my truth if you will – my inner vision – stays on that empty table.

I don’t know what my life would have been had I not believed the Holy acted in my life. In all the many deaths and rebirths I’ve experienced, I believed I was led by Spirit. I had to believe. I had to believe in an inner guiding force that would somehow still be there regardless of the struggle I was going through. Sometimes, hope was all there was.

The willow outside my window twists fiercely in the wind, tossed by life’s rough forces. Rain and wind whack against the house.

What is the truth of this Friday for you? What fills your empty table?

Will you fill it with frustration as the storm makes life difficult? Will you growl and complain at a day lacking bright sun? Are you annoyed at once more grabbing for a jacket? Perhaps the day is clear where you live; will you be too hot, too busy, too distracted?

Or will you take the time to fill your empty table with compassion, with understanding, and with hope?

Betrayed Again

Wednesday of Holy Week

God has given me a well-trained tongue…and opens my ears that I may hear;  Isiah 50

The one who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will hand me over.  Matthew 26

Today’s gospel from Matthew retells the story we had yesterday from John’s Gospel: Jesus is celebrating the Passover meal with his disciples and says, “…one of you will betray me.”

Betrayal comes in many forms from many directions.

Sometimes we are betrayed by those we love or who love us; sometimes we are betrayed by strangers when they cut us off on the highway without thinking of the danger they represent.

So much of literature is tied into betrayal – from the Homer epics through Shakespeare to modern plays and music. We humans betray one another – in thought, word, and deed.

Betrayal may be the harshest human experience to forgive. We become hurt, furious, we want to hurt back. We rarely use a “well-trained tongue” when confronting it. We rarely listen to the inner voice that reminds us we are safe, to forgive, to move on. Instead we hold on to the betrayal as if we are justified in punishing ourselves as we punish another.

“Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Today, in your Lenten reflections and in preparation for a new birth into light, you may want to take some time to list the betrayals others have done to you that still elicit anguish or anger, and listen to your Spirit voice as you see those names. Can you forgive? Can you release the anger or rage or fear against that experience or person?

Are you able to move clearly and securely into your own resurrection?

Small g god

Friday of the Third Week of Lent

We shall no more say, “our god,” to the work of our hands.  Hosea 14

As I was reading Hosea this morning, I was stopped by the “our god” – “god” with a small g. Not an error of the Lectionary editors, the small g god had a meaning quite different from the one I normally think of.

And I realized the worry I woke with this morning was that small g.

Yesterday, the day before, way too many of the days, are filled with unexpected or expected dashing. Expected or unexpected (and often unexpected) news of one sort or another. None of them are earth shattering for the most part, but taken together, it’s overwhelm time.

And yet, as I sat with those words “our god” with the small g, picking apart the “oh, my gosh!” feelings I woke with, I realized that in actuality, things were pretty much okay. Yes, there’s a lot going on and yes, there are pieces that will need attention, but worrying about them rather than simply doing what I need to do makes them my “god” – that pesky god with a small g.

What god are you creating from the work of your hands? What are you putting foremost in your life? Is it time to give up that god?

With those questions to myself, I am called back to spiritual awareness, to the breath moving in and out of my body, to peace.