thinking theology

Archive for April, 2019

The Stones Cry Out!

The stones cry out! If the earth has a language of protest, we are certainly hearing it. Bomb cyclones, torrential rain, earthquakes and melting glaciers, extinctions of some species. Stones are hard of course, and human hearts are fragile: physically, emotionally and spiritually. We, with all creation, are crying out for justice, for healing, for peace. Why is this so hard?

As we take our first step into Holy Week, we are reminded that Jesus came not to be a king or a conqueror, but a healer, a gatherer of human lives. He particularly cared about those whose voices were easily unheard. I muse that at the centre of the cross, all the suffering of the world is held, awaiting resurrection, awaiting hope of a new world, with different values, different priorities. 

(Romans 8: For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.)

On that day when Jesus rode into town on a borrowed donkey — to a crowd of street urchins, market folks, none posh enough for the upper city — he made a statement about who his people were and whose needs claimed his attention. Now, I don’t know if he was afraid or not, but the clarity of his understanding of the problem in his time shaped both his actions and his refusal to be bent by Roman authority. 

Palm Sunday carries both our desperate plea — “Hosanna, Save Us!” — and our hope for the seemingly impossible stand against the powers and principalities of the world. And so we open our hearts this week to the remembered pain of it all that is re-enacted, daily, somewhere in the world. Again we open our lives to a holy scrutiny of how cold our efforts have been in compassion for our neighbours, how much we have fallen short in our commitment to understanding and acceptance of others, how ungrateful for this creation we have been. 

Our leader has no magic wand, no fast cure, just the promise of a community of love, and a home (no matter how far we have travelled or how weary we have grown). He comes on a donkey, down an ordinary street, to ordinary people, and asks us to become his body, his love in a world become unlovely, his hope when for so many that light has dimmed. 

Palm Sunday ends with questions really. Will we sit at his table without judging the other guests? Will we be willing to stand with him on the side of the vulnerable, not counting our, or their, worthiness? Will we admit that without trust in him, our vision will be narrow and our efforts shallow? Will we accept his sacrifice as our own, his work as ours, his wounds are ours, his love to set us free? 

And so we pray,

Compassionate God, in whom is our dream of heaven and the peaceful dream of earth, help us to love ourselves and to forgive ourselves, so that we can love and forgive our neighbours and those whom we do not want to know. Break us and heal us, so that we may be strengthened by the fire of your love, and tempered by the heat of your compassion. In the name of Jesus, who lived in the full experience of Love, inspire our hearts with his passion and his faith in you. Amen.

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Anticipating Easter

The spring rains and April sunshine are awakening the earth. The crocuses that we planted on Ash Sunday are getting ready to bud. And yet, there is still Holy Week before the Easter for which we yearn. 

Why do we put ourselves through the spiritual purging of Holy Week? We know how the story ends, after all. I think the passage from the desperate cries of Palm Sunday, “Hosanna. Save us!” to the joy of resurrection, invite us to see this reality in each of our lives and in the life of our nations and even the earth. Birth and death are both struggles into new life, new awareness. We can engage in these struggles as active participants. I invite you to allow yourselves to use this Holy Week to deepen the appreciation of the Divine working in our lives, both in shadow and in sunshine. 

From the cries of the crowd to the stillness of Good Friday, we walk a holy path in solidarity with all who suffer and with the communities of love and faith that gather in gardens, at altars, by candles, waiting in hope. 

When we shout, “ Hosanna; save us!”, let us hear the voice of the Holy One, saying, “I already have. Come to the feast of love and life… and bring your friends.”

Come to grieve for our world; come in hope. Come to rejoice that love is eternal, resilient like those pesky dandelions. Come because we are incomplete without

you. Come to the feast of life… and bring your friends.