Friday, April 10, 2015

Walking Easter Week with Preschool Steps

All clergy are tired Easter week. Walking with the parish through the way of the cross the Holy Week before, and then the marvelous joy of celebrating with hundreds of folks through four Sunday of the Resurrection Eucharists, is exhausting in a marvelous way. Added to my ministry of priest was my own quotidian life with my stolen wallet on Good Friday. Added to all, my twenty year old cat, Biz, died Easter Sunday afternoon, so I capped off the Feast of the Resurrection with a burial in my back yard. 

With kindness from others, so much kindness, on Easter Monday I flew to Bend to visit my grandboys, ages two (Jonas) and four (Austin).  Walking with them, I began my Easter rest. 

There are two parks nears where my son and his family live, and one of the things the boys and I like to do is take walks. Austin has a little bike he likes to ride, and Jonas and I saunter. Jonas wants to ride a bike, so when Austin puts his helmet on, Jonas does, too. It reminds me of Annie Dillards's words:

On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. 

Crash-helmeted with the glory of God, Jonas and I walked hand in hand to the park at least once each day as Austin tore off ahead. It was definitely mindful walking.  Jonas, stepping ever so slowly while at the same time trying to keep Austin in sight and away from danger.  I couldn't leave Jonas, but had to take care of Austin by shouting reminders. 

Walking slower than normal.  Eyes open and vigilant. Crash helmets on. A little beyond what I find comfortable.  Full of joy and holding hands with love. Surprises all about us, through the eyes of children. Snacks, tissues, and water in my traveling bag. 

Alleluia! Christ is risen!   


This is a photo we took after our walk in pajamas right before our slumber party while mom and dad went on a date.  Smile!  Christ is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Monday: I will! I am!

Sometime between the time when Jesus was having his last meal with his disciples, the day we call Maundy Thursday, and when Jesus died on the cross, the day we call Good Friday, my wallet was stolen.

I can’t be sure exactly when.  I can’t be sure exactly where it happened.  All I know that on Good Friday, I discovered that my wallet had been stolen. My life in a microcosm was taken.
$300 or so dollars.  Some gifts cards.  My  IDs.  Credit cards. Personal items.  All stolen. 

Having spent the twenty four hours prior in serious contemplation on Jesus’ suffering, betrayal, and death, it was an interesting place to be.  I had a fresh sense of Jesus’ betrayal and loss and death.
About being with thieves.   Not the same of course, but closer than I’d been.

In the hours after Jesus’ death on the cross, the remainder of Good Friday was spent on the phone and online canceling and reporting stolen items.  As I made phone calls and began to make plans for how to replace things that had been stolen from me, I knew that I was walking towards the tomb.  What would I find there?

I spent most of my time on Holy Saturday in prayer because I was finishing the Easter sermon. Holy Saurday may be one of the thinnest of the thin places--that holy space where heaven meets earth, and as God would have it, I had to stay in that thin place.   To not be overwhelmed by my loss. To stay centered in Jesus, who was himself in the tomb, or I wasn't go to be able to serve my dear people.   

Is it a surprise that I when I arrived at the empty tomb on the morning of the Resurrection that I found the Risen Christ?  Not because I was special or extra holy, but because the Risen Christ keeps his promises.   Because the Risen Christ always goes before us and is always waiting with arms wide open. 

It's now Easter Momday. I'm on my way to see my grandsons which is the best healing place in the world. I feel the risen Christ near. 

I may not have had driver's license to get through airport security, but I do have a passport. 

I may not have credit cards, but I have cash. In fact, I have lots of cash and a new Master Card debit card--all given to me an outpouring of love from my parish family.   

My heart still hurts at the emotional injury of the theft, but Jesus, who prayed for the thieves beside him on the cross, has given me the ability to pray for those who may come to kill and destroy but cannot. Ever. 

I still feel violated, in a small way, but Jesus, who forgave those who betrayed and crucified him, has given me the ability to forgive the thief who took what did not belong to him or to her.  Resurrection indeed. 

And one final thought.  Over twenty years ago I left my family in Houston and moved to Austin for my final year of seminary.  On the first day of class, my home in Houston was broken into and among what was stolen was my jewelry--most of it of more sentimental value than was worth the risk and bother of taking it.  It was a threshold in my life, and God taught me much. 

I am pondering my theft on Good Friday. It seems that once again,  Jesus is revealing something new and important through a loss that was certainly not God's will.  Resurrection indeed. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Holy Friday: It's all about the

It's all about
the wood
and the nails 
and the blood 
and the water 
and the thirst 
and the waiting with 
and the staying away 
and the forgiving 
and the grief 
and the abandonment 
and the fear 
and the apathy
and the holy
and the good
and the


What is your word for the day, when the liturgical color is black?

People are in prayer. People are busy. People are distracted. 

Where are you?

From noon to three and then at 6.30 tonight people will gather at St. Mary's to incarnate the words that we walked from Holy Thursday worship singing:

Stay with me 
Stay here with me
Watch and pray
Watch and pray. 

Bring your nail. 
Pound it into the Holy Week cross. 

Watch and pray. 
Will that nail be transformed on the Sunday of the Resurrection?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Holy Thursday: Will we?

It's Holy Thursday. 

The day about disciples simply hanging out, being together, and eating meals with one another.  As shown by Jesus in the last supper he prepares for those who follow him. 

The day about disciples learning to love. To serve. As shown by Jesus who kneels before those who follow him and washes their feet. 

The night that disciples are invited to wait and watch and pray with Jesus. As shown by those who said they followed Jesus who did not pray and watch with Jesus in the garden of Gethsamene. As those who said they followed Jesus did not do during his arrest and trial. 

Will we eat a meal with each other?
Especially at Maundy Thursday worship. 

Will we serve and love each other?
In all those unexpected times Jesus will offer us, especially today. 

Will we watch with each other?  Will we pray with each other? Will we wait with each other?
Especially during vigils through the night tonight and tomorrow as we observe Good Friday.