Monday, March 10, 2008

"I want it to be Easter or Spring or something"

I cannot change the weather, or the fact everyone is still passing around nasty illnesses. I cannot change the fact I want to be in my garden and can't, or the fact that I am tired of sweaters. I don't want to run the heat anymore- I want to open the windows. I want to fire up the grill not the soup pot.
I can start my seedlings and eagerly await their little green shoots in the starter tray ( I still get a smile when they first poke their heads up out of the potting mix ( this summer they will hopefully be tomatoes and peppers!) I can change my blog template to at least reflect that spring green is one of my favorite colors. Such a simple thing, like moving a chair to a different place in the room. But today - a new outlook! I am tired of the wind and more than a little dismayed that this will undoubtedly be the weather for the 6 AM Easter sunrise service in the cemetery at the country parish on top of the hill.

This past Sunday I practiced with the "Ladies ( and now 2 Guys) Who Sing" - the Easter music. They also practiced music for this Sunday. The song is cheerful, and in the third line the "Alleluias" start, and are pretty much throughout. For Passion Sunday- not so good. After a kind and patient discussion, it is agreed to change the "Alleluias" to " Hosannas." And everyone is pretty much OK, but the truth is- they really just want to get to Easter. If only we could just run by all of the cross and suffering stuff and get to the happy ending. After all, one person said, "Aren't we an Easter people?" And what difference does it make really?

It is a little ironic to me that as a culture we have become obsessed with death, real time news, HDTV graphics, and knowing everything we can about people's lives. But the one story we fear to face, the most important story, we would just as soon not. Luther's affinity for theology of the cross not withstanding, many of those who today worship in the church that bears his moniker would just like an extra helping of grace, thank you very much.

So I talked with the Ladies and 2 Guys and explained what this Sunday is about. Not just Hosanna and kids waving palms. Not just knowing who has what lines in the narrative reading. But that this Sunday we focus on the Passion, the selflessness, the suffering and ultimate love of God on the cross. Do we really want to sing "Alleluia" as a word of praise for the mocking, or the suffering or the humiliation, or the killing of Christ?

We can hear the endless drone of sad statistics about the dead in a senseless war, the dying who cannot get food or medical care or clean water, and we are numb to it. But ask us to imagine the nails, the thorns and the cross. Not so much.

This week I am reading The Crucified God by Jurgen Moltmann for my systematic theology class. Somehow, just in time. May we be brave enough to linger in the tension of Lent, and then as Easter people, be bold enough to proclaim the mission of the church to and for the oppressed, the afflicted and those who desperately need this Christ.

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