april 2, 2021 (good friday)
For today's readings, click HERE.
We have reflections from both our Wardens today!
For Chris's reflection, please click here.
For Michael's reflection, please read on.
Human acts of brutality and violence are still all too common today, some 2000 years after Jesus’ crucifixion. It is hard for me to see Jesus hanging on the cross without feeling a sense of despair and some cynicism about the future of the human race; events this past year have done little to quell that sense of despair about our collective future. Acts of violence and brutality are a daily news feature in our country and throughout the world. Countless acts of love and compassion by so many good people seem at times to be overpowered by acts of evil.
Cynthia Bourgeault, in her book The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind—a New Perspective on Christ and His Message (quoted from Richard Rohr’s daily readings), invites us to reflect on the meaning of the passion by understanding how it calls us into personal transformation:
“The spectacle of an innocent and good man destroyed by the powers of this world is an archetypal human experience. It elicits our deepest feelings of remorse and empathy (and if we’re honest, our own deepest shadows as well). . . . It’s been used to stir anger and scapegoating. It’s been used to fuel anti-Semitism, to induce personal guilt—“Christ died for your sins”—and to arouse devotion in a sentimental and even fanatical way.
From a wisdom point of view, what can we say about the passion? . . . The key lies in . . . reading Jesus’s life as a sacrament: a sacred mystery whose real purpose is not to arouse empathy but to create empowerment. In other words, Jesus is not particularly interested in increasing either your guilt or your devotion, but rather, in deepening your personal capacity to make the passage into unitive life. If you’re willing to work with that wager, the passion begins to make sense in a whole new way. . . . Our only truly essential human task here, Jesus teaches, is to grow beyond the survival instincts of the animal brain and egoic operating system into the kenotic joy and generosity of full human personhood…”
Growing into “full human personhood” is the invitation, through reflection on the passion, not to sink into a cynical despair about the future of human-kind, but the on-going transformation that comes from a deepening relationship with a loving God, “who so loved the world…” Allowing the mystery of the passion to deepen my sense of connectedness to all creation, and the power of love that ultimately renders human hatred and brutality impotent, is what is empowering. Trust in love and growth in my ability to give and receive love comes to me when I can hear Jesus’ commandment to love one-another while I contemplate the passion. And as an Easter people, we have the advantage of knowing the outcome, that death did not have the final say!
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