- Posted on Apr 16, 2020
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. John 20
In the name of the risen Christ. AMEN.
The flowers are blooming. The trees are budding.
But the world does not seem the same anymore.
We all wonder if it will ever seem the same again.
How do we continue to abide in this continuing uncertainty?
We continue because just as the Gospels tell us and indeed all of Holy Scripture tells us, there is surely a larger picture afoot.
Richard Rohr believes that we are now—all of humanity—undergoing what he calls,
A DEEP INITIATION.
Initiation into what it means to be part of the human race—of humanity.
All throughout history, we learn through or ignore at our peril the suffering of our time.
Jesus spent his life talking about what it meant to live into a deeper humanity.
The humanity intended for all of us by God.
A humanity that is the way of love and justice.
Right now is a large scale foot-on-the-brake moment when we are forced to come to terms with this bigger reality.
Humanity always has a choice——IGNORE OR LEARN.
This Easter Day, can we wake up to this bigger reality?
Jesus taught and gave his life for this truth—that we are part of a bigger picture of God’s love—he tried to teach the disciples this truth but the disciples fought him every step of the way.
We do too.
And we fight this truth—just as the disciples fought this truth—because the only way to enter this new life, this bigger reality, to see with new eyes is DYING BEFORE YOU DIE.
Our convenient lives have to be turned upside down—not just inconvenienced (although that is a start) but changed in a way that break our “individual towers of self-importance.”
We have all been brought to a moment in human history now when we have the opportunity, the challenge, the invitation to do this.
Instead of choosing to be distracted or self-entertained when the going gets tough, can we look directly into the eye of the beast and acknowledge that our life has been turned upside down and see the new life offered and step into that life?
COVID-19, an agent of illness and death, affects all of us no matter what tribe, nation, race, gender with which we identify—or any of the other ways we separate ourselves from one another.
Now we are all in this together.
And that is the call of the deeper reality of humanity.
You and I are each one of us manifestations of what is happening everywhere.
We are part of a Radical Oneness. A Common Force Field. The Body of Christ.
Part of the Great Love of God.
We so often live as though we don’t believe this.
But the mystics of all religions—including Christianity— all knew that the way of love and the way to God is not about climbing and succeeding according to the world’s ways but by descending into the grave.
All the great initiation rites of humanity—from the male walkabout to female menstruation and childbirth—are about looking into the eye of the beast of sorrow, loss, pain and potential death.
These rites are not about sadness and fear denied, but sadness and fear transformed.
To realize that as individuals we are negligible in the eyes of the world, but always beloved in the eyes of God.
The mystic Terese of Lisieux, known as “The Little Flower” knew this.
When her sister, Claire, was upset with her own faults, Terese said to her: “If you are willing to bear serenely the trial of being displeasing to yourself, then you will be a pleasant place of shelter for Jesus.”
In these days of sheltering in place, we so often beat ourselves up for not taking advantage of the time, of our laziness, our sloth, our binge watching and eating…..this emotional snag can send us into terribly bad moods…..what if we throw away that “graded yardstick of individual accomplishment” and let go of the very need to “think well of yourself”.
To surrender ourselves to life as it is.
And then find the portals of love and goodness all around.
Mary in the garden was a mess—crying, lying at the grave, unable to measure up to anything.
When she surrendered to her grief, there was Jesus.
Sheltering her, Loving her once more into life.
Here TODAY is the Holy Pause for us to surrender to the realities of life and the consoling Love of God. The resurrection into new life.
In the next five weeks, I will preach on the Richard Rohr’s Five Realities of Life and the Five Consoling Messages of the Resurrected Christ.
On this Easter Day and this time of pandemic, hear the 5 truths of reality and the world:
1. It is true that Life is hard. Life is difficult.
2. It is true that you are not important in the eyes of the world. No matter who you are.
3. It is true that life is not about you.
4. It is true that you are not in control.
5. In this time of constriction, it is true you are going to die.
Now hear the 5 Consoling Messages of the Resurrected Christ:
1. Life is hard and my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Together we can walk through the difficult places.
2. I am not important in the eyes of the world and in God eyes, I am beloved.
3. Life is not about me and the life that I live is not my own but is Christ’s way that lives in me.
4. I am not in control and why worry about a single moment….for all of creation, the birds of the air, the lilies of the field, neither toil nor spin.
And finally….and most importantly,
5. It is true we are all going to die and nothing can separate any of us from the Love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Don’t break down, break through.
In this time of constriction, in this time of the Holy Pause, surrender to the reality and fall into the consoling arms of God. Let the portal of God’s universal love open. Step into that bigger reality of God’s love.
It is there. Absolutely. DO NOT FEAR. TRUST. LIVE.
He is Risen! Alleluia!