At first blush, meditating on the goodness of Good Friday seems to be foolish. What is good about a day designed to make Christians stop and ponder a gruesome, ghastly death of a seemingly innocent man? To reflect on an event of a man caught up in government hierarchy and power, who was tried without benefit of anyone standing with him, and was judged by these government forces – out of their fear – and sentenced to death? A seemingly agonizing and horribly painful death in between two thieves according to the stories we’re told? What is good about that?
We know Easter Sunday is coming. We know there will be New life, Rebirth, Resurrection. As Christians, we celebrate life as people of the Resurrection, people of Hope, people of Love and Grace.
But first . . . We must journey through the dying and the entombing and the uncertainty and unknowing.
Unless a grain of wheat fall, break open, and die to itself as a seed, it will remain just a grain of wheat. It will produce nothing. But if it dies – if we die – to our self, to ego, to desire and craving, and what the “I” wants, we will become what we are meant to be.
How have the events of the past few weeks and months broken you open? I believe the uncertainty and the unknowing of this threshold event beckons us to break open and embrace a new awareness, a new life, a new way of being in this world going forward. Are we ready to let go of what we used to know and be and allow a dying to a way of life that left us exhausted and over stimulated and filled with mass consumption of stuff? A life where our consumption has seriously impacted our natural world? How will our self-quarantining, our entombing of the ego, bring forth a True Self which is more in harmony with our natural world and with one another?
I believe we are being asked to see this time of COVID19 quarantining and social spaciousness as threshold to a new way of being in this world. We are being broken open and changed. We cannot go back to the way things were before because we are not the same people.
Jesus told us two things – love God, the Divine, The Mystery, the Cosmic Consciousness – however you might name The Other. He also said love your neighbor as yourself. Show compassion, be kind, be generous, look out for those on the margins, the sick, the imprisoned, the disabled, those we deem weak and unworthy, those of a different race, culture, creed, or sexual orientation or identification, the weirdos, those entrenched in positions – anyone who is “different” from us. Jesus summed it up. It’s not about following all the minutia of man-made rules. It is about breaking open to Light. Grace. Love.
The struggle is real to allow ourselves to be broken open. I’ve known it. I’ve struggled with loss of a career and letting go of an image and a persona. I’ve wrestled with transitions, stood at thresholds, watched loved ones take their last breath and felt shattered and scattered and exhausted by it all. I screamed and cried and shook my fist at God and the Universe and asked why. This doesn’t make any sense. And while in the midst of it, I could not see the Grace in it. I could not be grateful for the gifts. We can’t see where the path will take us while standing in the doorway – the threshold. We have to step through the door to follow the path.
Dying to the Self or the body dying doesn’t make any rational sense whatsoever. We are biologically primed to survive and stay alive in body and in Self. So how do we make sense of The Cross and Jesus’ dying? Lots of other learned theologians and writers have written pages and pages on this. Some call it folly because Jesus’ act seems foolish by all human accounts. I’ve read and pondered and concluded I can’t make sense of it intellectually. We must experience the breaking and pulling apart and even then it still doesn’t make rational sense.
What is good about Good Friday? It’s a reminder of the fragility of human life and the precious gift of each individual. Yes, even the one you despise. It’s a call to live in the moment. It is a reminder to never miss an opportunity to tell the people closest to you, you love them. It is the Grace to show gratitude. It is a symbol that things don’t make sense, that people can be cruel and reject you and try to kill your soul and your spirit not because they are evil but because they, too, are broken.
I believe this Good Friday is a wake up call, an opportunity to see human-made constructs of government and hierarchical power may not be the way to function all the time, that perhaps the wild and uncontrolled energy of Mercy and Love and Grace is what is needed. Let’s not through the baby out with the bath water. I’m not advocating anarchy. What I am challenging is that while we need constructs and hierarchies to preserve and protect, we also need the wild and uncontrolled energy of Love, Grace, Mercy, Compassion, Gratitude. It is not an either/or but a both/and. We are being called to soften, to be kinder and more gentler, to allow ourselves to be broken open for something new.
Here are some questions for prayer or reflection. Perhaps you want to journal or create art or SoulCollage with these questions. Sit with them and let arise what arises without judgment. May you be blessed by Love and Grace and Mercy this day and always. May Easter be particularly special for you this year.
How has this time of Covid19 broken you open? What has arisen in you? Can you lean in and gently hold the fear, uncertainty, or anger and let it transform and transmute? What is “good” for you today? What image or images capture what you are feeling at this time? In this time of uncertainty and unknowing, recognize the powerful energy of liminal space, of being on the threshold. Have you experienced being on the thresh hold at other times in your life? Is there a word or words which stood out for you in this blog? Find an image in a magazine or on line which symbolizes what you feel about Covid19, The Cross of Jesus or that word or words which stood out for you.
Be well. Be safe. Blessings – Christy
(This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction. Spiritual direction and spiritual companioning is typically done face to face in a confidential setting and can be done via Zoom or FaceTime. If you would like to explore one on one spiritual companioning, group companioning, SoulCollage©, the Labyrinth or Reiki, please contact me. If you, your faith group, your church or your book club would like to know more about spiritual companioning, please contact me to schedule an informational workshop. In the meantime, my hope is that the photos and this blog serve as a pause in your day, food for thought, or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for your prayers and support.)