Friday, April 6, 2012

אלהי אלהי למא שבקתני

Imagine, for just a minute, that you are a follower of a radical Jewish reformer named Jesus: you believe that He is the Son of God. Imagine that you were so caught up in the power of His passionate entry into Jerusalem that you glossed over the prophecies of death that He subsequently revealed. You did not allow yourself to hear all of His message, because you could not let yourself hear Him tell you what was about to happen to Him.

Five days later, you have witnessed Him accused of treason, "convicted" on paper by the empire, and you have seen your own people turn against Him. You have witnessed Him tortured in public as a reminder of your people's subjugation to the empire and yet your own people are participating in this vile, macabre spectacle. If you are really the Son of God then prove it by saving yourself! You want to keep believing that He is the Son of God -- but why is He letting this happen!?!?

You witness Him nailed to a cross. You know that death by crucifixion is brutal and horrid, and that it takes up to three days for a person to die by crucifixion. Horrified and demoralized, you sit. The entire Earth seems to be convulsing. It is midday, what is happening? Is that a solar eclipse? A few hours later, Jesus screams up to the sky... and He dies. How is that possible? How did this Jesus only suffer on the cross for a few hours? What has just happened here?

A thought to ponder:
The followers of Jesus did not know the rest of the story that was unfolding in front of them. They were so traumatized by this act of state-sponsored terror that they could not see what was to come after His mortal death.

A challenge to you:
Imagine for a minute that you were one of His original followers and that you do not know the next part of the Easter story. Imagine the despair, the confusion, the horror of what you have just witnessed. Or imagine for a minute that you are Mary and that you have witnessed your child nailed to a cross and that He hangs, dead, right in front of you. How does it feel? What would you do? How would you respond?

This is what Good Friday means to me.

The Crucifixion,
Seen from the Cross
-James Tissot
(c. 1890 CE)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Sounds of Silence

And so it begins.

From Palm Sunday until Resurrection Sunday (aka Easter), I will be under a vow of silence. In this post-modern world, "silence" means: no talking, no email, no Facebook, no tweeting, no cell-TXT'ing, etc., beyond the minimum necessary for functioning and survival. I will be attending all my classes, attending Holy Week services at no less than FOUR churches, but doing so in silence.

I do this in the name of all who have been silenced by people who claim to speak for Jesus. I do this for all who suffer in silence as they come to terms with trauma, abuse, and bullying. I do this, perhaps most importantly, because my default method of self-expression is through my voice and my written word.

One of my spiritual advisors recommended that I give myself permission to write a journal-entry of my experiences this week. I will, of course, not publish it until after the week is over... if at all. Wish me luck; it's gonna be an interesting week.