This Good Friday reflection was offered following we explored The Stations – a collection of posters designed to inspire worshippers to reflect upon the crucifixions that happen each and every day. You can view the posters here the art work is by Graeme Mortimer Evelyn
“The tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” Jesus lived so fully, loved so extravagantly, and allowed his passion to help him become all that he was created to be and in Jesus his friends and followers and generations to come are able to see the embodiment of the LOVE that we call God.
On Good Friday, we remember that passion and we do so knowing full well that the embodiment of the LOVE that is God, failed, suffered, died, and was placed in a tomb. This morning, as we have explored the via Delarosa the Way of Sorrows, we have been reminded of our passions as we have gazed upon reminders of the failures of LOVE. We stand in the midst of images of suffering: the suffering of those who shared a vision for justice and who were executed, the suffering of innocents, starving children, poor children, dead children, the suffering of the oppressed, the suffering of our planet, the suffering of our fellow creatures. recent suffering designed to strike terror into our hearts. Around us the suffering of life in this amazing creation of which we are a part is write large. But not all suffering is of this magnitude. Passion can be laid in a tomb all too easily. It doesn’t take events as horrific as an execution to entomb passion. Most of our suffering is done on a much smaller scale. Many of us have seen our passion die a subtler death. Our passions have been laid in the tomb and without our passion we cannot live fully, love extravagantly, and be all that we are created to be.
I remember a little girl full of life. I must have been about twelve or thirteen. My body was bursting forth as my womanhood was beginning to come alive. I’d saved up all of my babysitting money and bought myself a new outfit. I remember it well. It was the end of the 1960’s and I managed to buy myself a pair of hot pants. They wouldn’t even qualify as short shorts today. But back then, wooo HOT PANTS. And a peasant blouse and a pair of huarache sandals. Oh my, I looked good. I felt good. I felt like I could in the words of Hellen Reddy, “do anything….as the song goes, “I am strong. I am invincible, I Am Woman.”
I was a passionate young thing, ready to face the world and be all that I could be. I had a babysitting job, a good one that paid over the going rate. The kids loved me, because I was the best babysitter that I could be and I looked marvelous. Suddenly, without warning, my employer’s tongue was in my mouth. I didn’t invite it there. I was shocked, dumbfounded, I didn’t know what was happening. He was an old man. He was stronger than me. I couldn’t understand what was happening. All I knew was that I didn’t want his tongue in my mouth. With all my strength, I tried to push him away. But he was bigger and stronger than me.
I’m not sure how I managed to get away. But get away I did. I ran and I ran and I ran. I was a child. I didn’t understand what had happened. I only knew that it was wrong, so very wrong. I also knew that it must be my fault. I was the one who got all dressed up in my Hot Pants. I was to blame. I buried those damn hot pants in the back-yard and it was decade or more before I ever wore shorts again. I buried my childhood that afternoon. My confidence in myself, my appearance, my womanhood, died and was buried.
I wasn’t sure if I could tell you this story today. Not because it is so very tragic or sad. But because as some of you must know, the residue of this particular death, lingers with me still. It is no secret that to this day, I struggle with my body image. I have, for most of my life, tried to hide behind my weight and I became a master of wearing layers and layers of clothing to cover up what became for me my horrific body. I’m still working on getting my body out of the tomb in which it was laid all those years ago.
Each one of us could tell a story about the death of our passion. We have all laid to rest some passion. Our passion for justice, may have died at the hands of our own cynicism. Our passion for the environment, killed by our own sense of being overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude task of taking on the empires of our day. Our passion for endangered species killed by our own inability to know where to begin. Our passion for the plight of the poor, overcome and snuffed out by the overwhelming need that we can never seem to achieve enough. Our passion for the oppressed smothered by the sheer numbers. Our passion for justice strangled by our need to pay the bills. Our passion for love snuffed out by our failures.
What’s lying in your tombs? What passion have you buried? What death has caused you to stop living fully, loving extravagantly, and becoming all that you were created to be?
Today we lament the death of passion. But we do not suffer as ones without hope. I said before that old understandings of what it means to be human have evolved. We no longer need to see ourselves as creatures who were born victims of original sin, as if our very wickedness caused us to fall from grace, or that our Creator needed someone to die for our sins. That way of understanding what it means to be human, needs Jesus to die, in order to satisfy some father’s perverse sense of payment for sin. Fortunately, as we learn more and more about the nature of reality, we are beginning to understand what it means to be human in new and amazing ways. The wonders of creation that we are only beginning to understand are helping us to know that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Our place in the cosmos, in creation, on this planet, in this time, is intertwined with so much and we are beginning to catch a glimpse of the very ONEness of realty.
Interestingly, enough we 21st century beings are not the first to realize that we are more than the sum of our parts. There have always been mystics among us who have sensed that our being is but a part of something so much bigger than ourselves. Julian of Norwich a 14th century nun, put it this way, “we are not just made by God, we are made of God.”
We are made of God. The One who lies at the heart of reality. The LOVE that we call God, we are made of this. In each of us the LOVE that IS God lives and breathes and has being. That passion that drives us, that LOVE that Life that IS at the very core of who we are, that ISNESS is the ONE in whom, we live and move and have our being. All of this, all this colossal failure that surrounds us, we are better than this. For too long we have allowed the powers that be, convince us that this is all we are capable of. So, we have let our passions die. Laid them to rest. The very passion that empowers us to live fully, love extravagantly, and be all that we are created to be, our passion has been entombed.
We are made of God. The LOVE that we call God, will live again, in, with, through, and beyond us. For we are part of something so much bigger than ourselves. Our passion will empower us to choose life. We are made of God, the LOVE that we call God cannot be held captive in any tomb.
If Jesus’ death teaches us anything, it is that LOVE never dies, our longing for justice will not go away, our vision of a world where everyone has enough and we all live in harmony with creation, is part of our DNA, for we are made of God and God IS LOVE.
Today we weep for all the suffering. Our passions have been laid in the tomb. But our passions will live again, and again, and again…forever and ever. Amen.