Bunnies and tears

Some days are Easters and some days are Days of Tears. It is how life works. It is also why this last weekend holds so much power and meaning for those who walk the journey from Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, to his execution on the cross, to his resurrection. It is a perfect example of the ups and downs in life. From the high of Palm Sunday, to the absolute bottom of the Day of Tears, to the even greater height of Easter morning. One can start to feel a little dizzy from this roller coaster ride of Holy Week.

Life itself can get kind of dizzying. One day things are great and the next it feels like the bottom has fallen out. We dream about times when things could remain happy, stable and calm for long amounts of time (without getting boring, of course). But something invariably happens to mess up our tranquility. Perhaps one of the best messages of Holy Week is to just trust and keep moving forward. Sometimes a way is found through the difficulty that we could never have imagined – a clear sign that the Divine is at work. No matter what, it is inevitable that we emerge on the other side if we simply keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Love & Light!


The Challenge of Holy Week

As a Progressive Christian, even though I am gratefully in a progressive church, I find Holy Week challenging. The theology that God required a perfect human sacrifice (i.e. Jesus)  to save humanity from their sinfulness is pervasive and repugnant to me. As John Dominic Crossan has said, this type of theology is a sin against God by humans. How could we possibly have twisted the strength, integrity and love of Jesus into a fulfillment of punishment by God, the Divine Judge? And how could we possibly have twisted a God of boundless, unconditional love into a cold, executioner? It boggles my mind.

Now, I obviously don’t believe that “Jesus died for our sins,” and I don’t preach this. But I am all too aware that the majority of Christians who gather for Good Friday and Easter will hear this message thus perpetuating fear-based, spiritually abusive theology.

Having said this, our spiritual community choses to gather on Friday, not to remember how sinful we are and how “good” it was that Jesus died to save us. Rather we gather for a Day of Tears. We gather to remember that an innocent, peaceful, justice oriented, loving man was horribly executed by the powers of the day… because they could. We gather to honor our tears and the tears of all those who have experienced injustice, sorrow, pain, hopelessness and despair. We gather together to symbolically remember that we stand together during these times of darkness, fear, confusion and mourning. We gather because there is a time for everything, and this is our time to grieve. And, finally, we will gather because we know that with God there is always hope.

Easter morning does not bring us to a glorification of the cross, but to a hope-filled day where all things are possible. Dawn always comes after darkness, dancing eventually returns after mourning, new beginnings cannot arrive without endings, and love transcends death.



Beloved and Given

You are Beloved, Chosen, Blessed, Broken and Given. (See the last four weeks of posts if you’d like to catch up on this sermon series.) Today we recognize once again that we are like the communion bread which is lifted up (chosen), blessed, broken and given for the world.

Herni Nouwen, in Life of the Beloved, says that there is a mysterious connection between our brokenness and our ability to give. Our brokenness offers us a deeper way of sharing our lives and bringing others hope. It is through our brokenness that we can find new life, often in a way that wasn’t possible before. Let me share a wonderful story with you by Sacinandana Swami.

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on one end of the pole he carried across the back of his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream, the cracked pot arrived only half full. This went on every day for two years, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to his master’s house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishment and saw itself as perfectly suited for the purpose for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived as bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself and I want to apologize to you.”

“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”

“For the past two years, I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws you have to work without getting the full value of your efforts,” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and out of compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the wildflowers on the side of the path. The pot felt cheered.

But at the end of the trail, the pot still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and again it apologized for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I knew about your flaw and took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them for me. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. If you were not just the way you are, he would not have such beauty to grace his house.

We are all cracked pots, and from our brokenness beauty can spring forth. It is also important to note that the water bearer brought forth the Beloved in the cracked pot, helped it to move past its negativity and see the ways it could offer something wonderful through its brokenness. We are called to recognize both roles in ourselves so that we will not only transform our own brokenness, but help others to be transformed as well.