Monday, April 02, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Today’s text

Mark 16:1

When the Sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices with which to go and anoint him.


Yes, I know; I am getting ahead of the story. Holy Week dawns with the awareness of the brutality to come.

Betrayal by friends, fear of suffering, whippings, beatings, the grotesque torture of crucifixion--the events of Jesus last week are well known. The great liturgies of the church year reflect on each one, lest we miss we what we might see and feel as we listen and watch the face of Jesus.

Each scene tells us something about ourselves, about the nature of life in this world and about the heart of God that was in Jesus.

Each one makes me squirm, as I see human treachery and weakness revealed in how he was betrayed and denied by friends--and by enemies who expediently denied their highest principles to get rid of him.

I see his struggle to pray and enter that quiet space in his soul where the Father’s loving presence filled him, only to fail to find what he needed.

I see him whipped and suffering, bleeding and screaming as nails rip his flesh. I see him lift himself on the nails, excruciating pain tears soul and body as he struggles for breath.

I see, and I want to hurry to the end. The images are too raw, the suffering too real in a world where brutalities of one sort or another continue to be wreaked upon human flesh by callous souls for whom compassion is a stranger.

I want to hurry to the place of quiet, the silence of death, where Jesus is free of torture and pain, where the gentle hands of those who loved him carry spices to anoint his limp body and lay him finally to rest.

I want to move past the brutality to the compassion of human hearts whose grace and beauty were awakened in his presence.

I am among them. I am them. These are my brothers and my sisters, the souls of hope who came alive in his presence, whose hearts took wing in his nearness, whose beauty shined in the presence of the eternal beauty that filled him.

Tears flow as I see them walking toward the tomb of Jesus. But my tears are not only of grief but of love and hope. Even amid his death, they are alive. Their hearts continue to beat.

I do not speak of their biological life, but of the inner life of love that is the Spirit of God. They are alive, and the Love that is the substance of the invisible and unimaginable God is the beating of their hearts, the breath of their lives.

You, Jesus have already given them resurrection. The love that is stronger than death is in them. It brings them to the place of death in order to love, to love you, and for this I love them so greatly, yes, for this I love you beyond any measure.

For you are the Love that does not die in this heart of mine nor in the hearts of those who love you.

I see them, Jesus, they go to the tomb. You were not there. You were already alive in them, and soon they would see you, even as I do now.

Pr. David L. Miller

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