Tag Archives: Easter

Maundy Thursday. Feet? Really?

So Jesus in the Gospel of John washes his disciple’s feet, and it is played both seriously — to demonstrate the upside-down Kingdom love of Jesus — and for laughs. Peter (as normal) just does not understand and is horrified at first that Jesus would consider setting aside his privilege to do the menial duty of footwashing. Jesus insists. I can imagine him smiling, waving the rag in the air, the basin of water on the floor.

But — did it have to be footwashing? At my church we enact it, those who choose come forward and put their feet into water and a brother or sister dries the feet, and then switch. It is beautiful. It is silent (to be honest, maybe there is music and I’m just always in my head and don’t hear it) and a bit spooky and a bit of joyful tension sort of like a child on Christmas Eve. In the morning it is going to be great, it is going to Christmas. Only the opposite is going to happen. On Good Friday, Jesus will die.

Just as in the story, it is action re-created to show love that is both profound and meaningful and inherently funny and awkward.

We have to wait for Sunday for resurrection. But Jesus has to die, for some reason: for us, for reasons of atonement, for theologies of all sort. It is the science fiction fan in me that is like: God couldn’t find a better way to heal the world of sin than to kill His Son? Couldn’t He just, you know, forgive?

And of course God does forgive, has forgiven, could forgive, has remained steadfast in love with us and all creation, and the clear answer isn’t that Jesus had to die to satisfy some angry God, like a god of a volcano or a dragon with a princess.

Something else….

Maybe just like the footwashing — REALLY feet? It couldn’t be hands? It couldn’t be “wash each other’s faces” — maybe dying on the cross was that important? Maybe Jesus had to die for us, not just wash our smelly, awkward, important feet, so that we could see the upside-down Kingdom love of God with absolutely no questions, no exceptions?

God loves us enough to bleed and die for us.

So let’s love each other, suffer with and for each other, as much as God loves us.

FTGOG!

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Holy Saturday, Happy Easter

I realized that I have no profound words to offer today, so then I realized: let’s use other people’s. I went searching for John Updike’s poem “Seven Stanzas on Easter” because it is perfect. I found it plus this blog entitled “In the Meantime”, so I’m just going to share the link, because it is excellent.

Happy Easter y’all! May it be green with hope and alive with wonder.

Mark 8:31-38 and the cross

After I have shared a scripture in storytelling form (by heart), afterward there is this beautiful peace in my mind and heart. It can last a week or so. It is just the most quiet calm feeling. My brain, heart, body was working so hard to learn the passage and after, suddenly, a welcome silence.

Last Sunday I shared Mark 8:31-38 and it went well (I think). For the first time I used a lapel mic and that gave me more freedom to turn, although I kept my feet planted. (Some storytellers move all over of course, and maybe some day for some story I might. But I like to feel grounded.) I turned first as Peter taking Jesus aside to rebuke him; then turned the other way to show that Jesus, when rebuking Peter, was not doing it in front of everyone. Their argument was in private. In verse 34, Jesus calls the crowd and the disciples back to him (and Peter) and says, that to follow him, you have to deny yourself, and pick up your cross and follow him.” So I tried with my turning to show the various movements of the story.

Now what is “your cross”? What is my cross? What does that even mean? Does it mean face your fears? Or maybe find your joy? Or speak truth to power? Or change, move, learn, grow, do … something? Something unique to us or something everyone can do (if only we all would), like just … what? The cross was an extremely painful death, and one with shame in it. I read this murder mystery a couple weeks ago and there was a scene of the death of a death row inmate. Painful. Justice? In this particular mystery it wasn’t justice. And the inmate had a family member there, who was deeply shamed and deeply grieving a life lost, “wasted”. Her life too was shamed and wasted. Perhaps Jesus’s death on a cross was intended by the Romans, rather like our death penalty, not just to deter crimes of rebellion against the state, not just to inflict a terrible death, but to shame the “criminal” and the criminal’s family? How did that work out for the Romans?

The cross then for me – should I expect to be facing something equally painful, equally hard?

Which, you know, I don’t want to especially.

And I wonder if too many of us hear “pick up your cross” to mean “pick up your cross like a sword and swing it at people”.

I feel that it is Easter that changes me, you, the world…. Hold on to your cross and feel it, and sorrow. Envision what things would be like without that to bear, without that sorrow. Envision how to create that world, full of love and joy and hope and trust. Easter is coming.