Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Comment

on an old posting -- specifically on a poem about Maundy Thursday. And I quote:

Your prayer? poem Sounds Very Dark to me. Concentrating on the Minor theme and missing the Real Message of this season, which is Jesus Christ gave us The greatest gift of all times!!!

We all, are or have been dead in our sins! but if you accept Jesus as your savior by asking forgivness, You will remove the blackness in your life, better yet You'll one day get to live in a sinless world with a new body that will never grow old and be in God's presence for ever. All because of Jesus Sacrfice at the Cross!! and because he Arose from the dead!!

I find this interesting. I grew up in a tradition that was not very liturgical -- and one that skips directly from the "Hosannas!" to the "Hallelujahs!" -- blithely going from Palm Sunday to Easter. No Ash Wednesday, no Lent, no Maundy Thursday, no Good Friday. From one high point to another high point without hitting the valley below.

As I grow older and I grow in my faith and understanding, I begin to wonder if there is more of value in walking the entirety of Jesus' walk -- to walk the Via Dolorosa and encounter the full suffering of Christ before we move onto the glory of the resurrected Lord.

It's a matter of balance -- the bitterness and suffering of the Via Dolorosa offset by the sweetness and glory of the empty tomb. We risk seeing only a part of the story; a tapestry is made of both light and dark threads.

Fred Craddock always stresses the importance of letting each part of the story stand for itself -- and I must agree. He says:

The mother picks up the child and says—in the oldest myth in the world—“Let me kiss it and make it well.” . . . She picks up the child, kisses the skinned place, holds the child in her lap, and all is well. Did her kiss make it well? No. It was that ten minutes in her lap. Just sit in the lap of love and see the mother crying. “Mother, why are you crying? I’m the one who hurt my elbow.” “Because you hurt,” the mother says, “I hurt.” That does more for the child than all the bandages and medicine in the world, just sitting in her lap.”

“What is the cross?” Craddock asks. “Can I say it this way? It is to sit for a few minutes in the lap of God, who hurts because you hurt” (Cherry Log Sermons: Why the Cross).

To sit and suffer WITH -- to sit in the darkness of Good Friday to know suffering before we sit in the light of the Resurrection.

Or (to quote another favorite preacher) It's Friday, but Sunday's coming.

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