Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

I am going to do something today that I don't usually like to do: I am going to post a LONG quote here. The reason for it is that this is Good Friday, and the piece that I am about to share with you sums up my view of the world, at this time. This is a statement of my faith, as it is now. You and I both know that things change, and I may learn otherwise at some point, but today, I post this in honor of God's Love, and the coming weekend's significance in the Christian faith.

"The Price of Truth

"When one attempts to live the reign of God in this world, one comes to know the cross through misunderstanding, difficulty, privation, persecution. To take the cross means turning your face against the darkness and arrogance of Jerusalem when it tries to supplant the city of God.

"The cross is our obedience to the price of truth and love--with no assurance that it is going to 'work.' As in the life of Jesus, the cross leads us to perfect faith. Love led to its logical conclusion demands that we trust in a goodness and a life beyond our own. The doctrine of the cross says that no life can last forever, but there is a price to the breaking down of the lie. It is love become alive and personally engaged. Finally, there is no other word for love--except sacrifice, the cross, 'laying down one's life for one's friends' (John 15:13). The cross is doing the truth.

"While the affluent and unpersecuted churches of the North have abandoned the life of the cross and pursued happiness and survival in this world, the Christians of the South have been led to a different kind of joy and survival based on the cross of Jesus. Thus their lives have the power to shake, subvert, save and sanctify our Churches--precisely through and because of the cross! We are forced to recognize that we are 'only strangers and nomads on the earth' (Hebrews 11:13) when some like ourselves are free to scorn the rewards and comforts of this world in favor of a greater vision--the coming of the Kingdom of God.

"Yes, the cross is our salvation. It makes us holy. It frees us and liberates us for God and the great picture. It 'opens the gates of heaven' by closing off our loyalties to hell. It 'buys' us the truth, which is always expensive in this world. Through the cross Jesus paid the price, not so we would not have to, but so that we would in fact know that there is a price for truth and love: everything."

Did you guess? It's from Richard Rohr, Radical Grace, p. 144-5

I am reading this not as a political/religious statement, though if you are working on social justice or church matters, you may read it this way.

I read this as a statment that I learned is profoundly true, by walking into "the valley of the shadow of death" with Katie and my family, up to and through her passing, and into this new life without her here. What I learned is that the "Paschal Mystery" is for ALL human beings on the face of the earth; it awaits all of us, in one form or another, if we are paying attention. Every human life contains issues of life and death, and opportunities for the ego to grow stronger, or to die, and let Christ live more largely in us. I found that, though Jesus did pay the price, I also have to pay it in my own life. His doing it before me gives me a pattern to follow, and learn from; it tells me of the incredible love of God in teaching us, in Jesus, how the world works. My life is not about "the pursuit of happiness;" it's about learning to love. That may lead to happiness, but it certainly also leads through dark valleys.

The more broken my life and my heart are, the freer I am, the emptier I am, for God...if I am willing and able to stay open to Him and His love. The more that I see that the world is not reliable, the more I am able to rely on God-- not for rescue, not to get me out of the valley, but for help, for Love, for presence with me in the valley. I think one of the teachings is to be able to ask for less, to be happier with the smallest joys.

This is not what I thought the cross meant, before going through the events of the past two and a half years, but from what I can see, the teaching is there, if you are willing to believe it.


AnnDeO said...

It took me a few times re-reading the quote, but I think I "get" what you are expressing. When you realize life is so very fragile and painful experiences line your journey your paradigm about faith changes... but I love how you say "the more I see the world is not reliable the more I am able to rely on God." It reminds me of a poem by T.E. Browne:

If thou couldst empty all thyself of self,
Like to a shell dishabited,
Then might He find thee on the Ocean shelf,
And say — "This is not dead," —
And fill thee with Himself instead.

But thou art all replete with very thou,
And hast such shrewd activity,
That, when He comes, He says — "This is enow
Unto itself — 'Twere better let it be:
It is so small and full, there is no room for Me."

I take comfort and in a way "rely" on your posts and comments on my blog. Please take care and I'm sending you "love" this Easter weekend.

Anonymous said...

Dear Karen - I hope you have a blessed Easter - God bless. L in AK

KBL 2 ORD 2 SAN 2 LUV said...

Happy Easter Karen. I'm so glad your handsome boy arrived home to you safe and sound.

Achilles and Milo are sending you Golden Easter Bear love and wags!

Lakeland Jo said...

what can I say- I agree with you. Great post, and great writing.