Saturday, April 11, 2015

Resurrected Ritual (delayed reflection on Good Friday)

Photo by  Rev. Amy Rogers:
We're interested in your reaction to how the cross frames the word Division.
I wore a cross around my neck for the first time in years this Holy Week. I wore it sincerely, honestly, and reflectively -- using it to remember how intertwined my living and breathing is with the Jesus story.

On Good Friday, I joined with several local clergy and a friend to walk the "stations of the cross" in our little downtown. We carried a birch cross with a crown of barbed wire before us, and each had a masonry nail, hot in our hands. Stopping at every cross-walk, we read a prayer, and reflected on Jesus' final steps toward death.

We looked like religious fanatics, I think. Which is funny, because I know how committed these clergy are to wide, inclusive grace, and how the most rigidly religious have excluded them from acceptance. I felt uncertain, and embarrassed by our appearance. Then, I remembered, "I believe this story. I believe in this man-god and his lonely, broken, disgraceful walk with the cross. I believe in his subversive way of living, and believe it led directly to this long walk." And, I asked if I could bear our little birch-wood, to remove more of the barriers my heart built between his journey and mine. 

The Oklahoma wind blew the red dirt between my teeth and into my eyes. And the workaday hum of life on brick streets kept us from communicating. With each step, and each new (nominal) discomfort, I buried myself a little deeper into his ultimate protest and victory against greed and sin and pride and corruption: the most loving act, the most deliberate walk, the truest self-giving in the history of godkind and mankind. I was uneasily conscious of living between my modern, busy, material day, and this powerful, but painful day when the hope of a few died, but set himself up to live forever as the hope of the world.   

My husband remarked today how striking it is that I'm engaging in so many religious behaviors, like wearing a cross, accepting ashes on my forehead, completing the Stations of the Cross, preaching, doing special observances. But, he said, he knows it's because for the first time, these stories and rituals mean something life and perspective changing for me.

He's right.

I'm so grateful for every painful step of this walk from darkness to doubt-infused-hope, or hope-infused-doubt -- regardless, a place where I have the life and love of Jesus to show me how to live in and love my world.

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