Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Not Getting the God We Want


                                                                                                Grunwald's Crucifixion


Reflections 
Mark 8:27-38 
from our "Gathering of Reflection & Renewal" 
Saturday, September 12, 2009

He just sat there
drawing in the dirt.

Everybody watched,
and I waited
for him to do the right thing.

Supposedly he was righteous,
holy, good.
But I had heard the rumors,
that couldn’t possibly be true 
Lepers? Beggars? Whores?  Criminals?
They said he allowed his followers
to flaunt the Law,
and offend God with their disrespect.
Terrible rumors.

So here was his chance to show them.
To set them straight.
to do the right thing.

She stood there,
Despicable.  Barely clothed.
Filthy.
Tearstreaked, and shivering.
And he just sat there drawing in the dirt.

The question hung in the air,
 the tension palpable.
Waiting.
For him to do the right thing.

And then he finally stopped drawing.
He stood,
and brushed the dirt off his hands,
and looking at US,
instead of at HER,
he said, 
“The one of you without sin may throw the first stone.”


 There is one among us whom we do not know, host of highest heaven present here below.

I was a bit shocked*
And annoyed
To be honest.

I always thought
that I was one of Simon’s friends,
but obviously wealth was the criterion.
There were four merchant bankers,
five head accountants,
two people who worked in exports,
a professor of business management,
and a handful
of wealthy donor, elite philanthropist types.

But the shock was not that I was excluded.
The shock was who was the guest of honor.

Reputedly he is on the side of ‘the poor’,
a kind of bleeding heart social liberal, I suppose.
Allegedly he is quite critical of financiers,
Though I hardly imagine
he’ll have the first clue about economic growth.

So why this champion of the underdog,
this laizzez faire renegade activist
was there
laughing…
and drinking wine…
and eating venison…
I don’t know.

I know that the world is full of hypocrites,
and some people
will do anything to get votes.
But it isn’t as if there’s an election.

Venison… that’s what they had.
Melanie told me.


 There is one among us whom we do not know, host of highest heaven present here below.
*This one adapted from a piece from Present on Earth, Iona, Wild Goose Publications

He may not have meant to hurt me.
But he cut me to the quick.
It has always been him and me,
in this world together,
bearers of the secret,
keepers of the promise.
Chosen of God.
Even before he knew it.

From the time he jumped in my womb,
 when Elizabeth called me blessed,
I have been blessed.
Terrified, amazed,
overwhelmed and blessed.

There was no child like him.
Though I am sure every mother thinks so.
But it is my job, always was my job,
To protect this promise,
to carry the messiah.

So when the stories started coming back,
the circus atmosphere, the chaos,
pressing crowds and mass healings,
speaking with evil and wielding dark powers,
the obnoxious claims
and arrogance against authority,
the aftermath in neighborhoods
when thousands passed through,
like the locust clouds eating everything in site,
leaving only dust, emptiness, longing,
I had to do something.
I had to say something.

But he wouldn’t see me. 
I called out to him, I begged and pleaded,
And the message passed through the throng,
“Your brothers and mother are outside, waiting to see you!”
And still he did not come out.

And then, it grew quiet, and I thought he was coming.
And my heart softened.
My boy, my love.
child of my soul.
sharer of the promise.

And I heard his voice deep within the house,
carry past shoulders and heads,
and reach me out in the yard,
like a knife to my soul,
“Who are my mother and brothers?
whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister,
and my mother.”
And he left me outside,
To weep alone.

 There is one among us whom we do not know, host of highest heaven present here below.

It welled up within me
and I could barely keep from blurting it out.
Suddenly my heart filled with pressure
and all at once I KNEW,
I just KNEW. 
He is the one.
He is the one we’ve been waiting for.
He is our salvation, our hope, our answer.
He is it.
So I said it. 
And I knew I was saying something truer
than any truth that had ever been spoken.
So much so that ever fiber of my being
 wanted to shout it out,
To laugh and cry and scream it
into the world,
but instead I just said it,
“You are the Messiah.”
It was the greatest moment in my life.

Followed by the worst.
I’ll die. He said.
I will suffer,
I will be killed as a criminal.
Die, killed, suffer,
Pain, humiliation, death,
defeat, dead….

What?

So I stopped him.
I pulled him aside.
I tried to talk some sense into him.
I needed him to be all right.
To make it all right.

Jesus, no.
Stop it!
Stop saying such things!
You are our hope!
You are the answer!
Stop this!

But he shushed me.
Like a child.
And then like an enemy.
Get away from me, you adversary!
He yelled.

And knocked the wind out of me.
  

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