A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.

Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Meditations in Lent: First, Torture and Death ~ Good Friday '20

Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Psalm 22, Hebrews 10:16-25, John 18:1-19:42

When Jesus had received the wine, he said, "It is finished." Then he bowed his head and he gave up his spirit.  [John 19:30]

      There is no rising without death. And the death of some, designed by and for the powerbrokers, is often particularly gruesome. A political act spurred on by the religious authorities who, not unlike in our own times, were threatened by a man who spoke the truth, defied their rigid interpretation of God's Law, contradicted their teachings using their own tools, upended their control over those who had known nothing else until he arrived, who had committed no crimes except by capturing the attention of so many who began to look at God very differently. He had to be stopped, and so he was by the State- and Religiously- sanctioned murder of an innocent man whose supporters turned away in fear of obstructing the accusers. None of them knew what was coming next, but we do. And that often shortcuts our willingness to think more deeply about this day.
      Because we know there's a "happy ending," Good Friday, in normal times, is a "maybe go to church" day and then, in places where it is a day off from work it becomes more of a preparation day for the egg hunts and family gatherings over this weekend. This year is obviously different as we are watchful and wary of COVID-19 and its aggressively mounting toll. It is time to take a fresh and different look at the Passion of Christ, his suffering on the way to his monstrous death on the cross.
       Listening to the words of the haunting spiritual Were You There When They Crucified My Lord* awakens me to new questions: would I have been there, am I there today? Do I tremble at the recounting of his suffering - do I tremble at today's torture, suffering, and death all over the globe for those who cling to their faith? Do I tremble with the fear of having my own faith tested in such a way? Or am I secure in my surroundings wrapped in the privilege of a culturally acceptable religious expression? Am I a Christ-follower or merely the bearer of a comfortable label?
       Today is all about being decidedly uncomfortable with the details of this long ago execution in the midst of all that is happening in our midst and far beyond. What we do with it and about it will be the true-telling of our faith, to ourselves first.

O Christ our Passover, Sacrificed for us ~
     How quickly this week has turned from exultation to murderous rebuke. You are no more truly human than at this moment, dragging a massive piece of rough-hewn timber laid across Your body, through the mean streets, amidst the jeers and tears of bystanders. A once living tree now makes the beams of a horrible death. With Your own agony and the torment, You show us how to give our lives to God. And as Your life ebbs with excruciating slowness, Your compassion for the one who hangs next to You, and for us all, is overwhelming. 
      Let us hear the slanders and endure the anger as You have, of those who, so selfishly flush with power, are quick to condemn a human life to death for any and no good reason.
     Give us strength to pray for those who truly do not understand, and those who choose not to, all the physical and emotional turmoil they inflict upon others in the name of faith.
      Infuse us with such compassion that we might not return injury for insult but rather reflect Your love and peace in all the actions of our lives.
      Grant us the courage and humility, to take this long walk in our current time with You and for You, no matter what comes.  
      Help us to look beyond ourselves and into the faces of others with love rather than self-assured pity, with hope rather than despair, with justice tempered with mercy, and with true contrition for our own sins of commission and omission. 
       Guide us to the realization and understanding that You ask no more of us than You have done for us. 
        Let us keep and strengthen our faith in You. Amen.


*click here for: Three Mo' Tenors: Were You There When They Crucified My Lord 

All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. For more information or comments, contact: Leeosophy@gmail.com

No comments:

Post a Comment