160325 – Maundy Thurs and Good Friday poems

Until There Isn’t

Maundy Thursday Reflection ~ John 13:34-35

There is a reason today is called Maundy
From the Latin mandatum for the English commandment
Mandatum, mandate, Maundy
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,
If you have love for one another.
A new mandatum, a new commandment to strengthen the previous loves
For all commandments are mandates to love.

There is love of God, with heart and soul and mind and strengthcross-crowd2
With height and depth and breadth and length
There is love that tunes our hearts to God’s song
There is harmony, there is joy, there is peace, there is light.
In faith, there is love of God – until there isn’t.
When we forget to love God we become hollow
There is discord, there is misery, there is anxiety, there is darkness.
For the people of God, for the people gathered to worship, for the people gathered in prayer, there is love – until there isn’t.
When this commandment is broken
When we forget to love God
When God’s people forget whose we are
When the church forgets to love
We become lifeless.

We are commanded to love our neighbour
To love the stranger, to love the other, as we love ourselves.
There is energy in kindness,
There is happiness in helping
There is delight in reaching out
There is passion in sharing the truth that there is love!
In faith, there is love of others – until there isn’t.
When we forget to love others we become selfish.
There is callousness, there is indifference, there is stinginess, there is apathy.
For the people of God, for the people gathered to serve, for the people gathered for giving, there is love – until there isn’t.
When this commandment is broken
When we forget to love others
When God’s people forget who we are
When the church forgets to love
We become insular.

A new commandment is given
A renewed mandate to love one another, to love those alongside, to love fellow journeyers
At Jesus’ table there is fellowship, there is unity
There is plenty, there is laughter, there is oneness, there is strength
And there is love
Wonderful connectional love for one another – until there isn’t.
When we forget to love one another the fellowship is broken, the unity disappears
There is lack, there is sadness, there is divisiveness, there is weakness.
When love for one another fades or is forgotten
When personal agendas or fears take over
When our ‘we’ is consumed by our ‘me
When this commandment is broken people get hurt.
People turn on one another.
People are betrayed.
People are crucified.
For the people of God, for the people gathered for the journey, for the people gathered at Jesus’ table, there is an abundance of love, love, love – until there isn’t.
And that’s when Fridays like tomorrow happen…

 

The Inkblot Cross

Good Friday Reflection ~ John 18-19

For almost 100 years the psychological field has been using inkblot tests to analyze people’s perceptions of symmetrical blots of ink on plain white paper. How one perceives an object or an event says much about the person themselves.

Consider then, the crucifixion of Jesus. A simple chain of events, witnessed by many, yet perceptions vary wildly.

Jesus is a threat. An insurrectionist that must be stopped.
Jesus is a provocateur. An antagonist who dares contend with Pilate.
Jesus is a blasphemer. A would-be messiah leading people astray.
Jesus is a philosopher. A wordsmith debating the nature of truth.
Jesus is a joke. A pitiful loser who deserves mocking and humiliation.
Jesus is a lightning rod. A figure who can turn gathered crowds into blood-thirsty mobs.
Jesus is a martyr. A misguided soul willing to die for the cause.
Jesus is a patsy. A convenient foil over whom to strengthen convenient political arrangements.
Jesus is the king of the Jews.
Jesus is not the king of the Jews.

Jesus is a sacrifice.
Jesus is a saviour.
Jesus is a substitute.
Jesus is an example.
Jesus is God.
Jesus is human.
Jesus is imaginary.
Jesus is Messiah.
Jesus is Lord.
Jesus is an inkblot.
Jesus is…

Consider now the cross of Christ.
Look at it.
It’s just a simple geometrical shape.
Symmetrical.
Balanced.
Neutral.

And yet we read so much into it!

How do you see the cross?

The cross is salvation.cross-wooden2
The cross is a torture device.
The cross is our ultimate truth.
The cross is a fiction.
The cross is God’s plan.
The cross is humanity’s shame.
The cross is the Roman’s fault. The Jew’s fault. My fault?
The cross is death.
The cross is life.
The cross is love?

The cross is the means by which humanity and God are reconciled.
The cross is the means by which my debt is paid.
The cross is a means to show the powers of this world are not ultimate.
The cross is a means to guilt trip everyone into submission.
The cross is a means to defend my theological views.
The cross is nothing more than how the Romans got rid of an agitator.
The cross is nothing less than the turning point of history.
The cross means nothing.
The cross means everything.

The cross is a symbol.
The cross is a metaphor.
The cross is political.
The cross is mystical.
The cross is spiritual.
The cross is inevitable?

The upright of the cross represents our being grounded in the earth and reaching up to God. Love God.
The crossbeam of the cross represents our reaching out to the world. Love People.
The cross is a vivid way to teach that death must precede resurrection – that dying to what was is necessary to be reborn into what will be.

The cross is hope.
The cross is faithfulness.
The cross is grace.
The cross is the end.
The cross is the beginning.

The cross is mystery.
The cross is an inkblot.
The cross is…

(a pause for silent reflection)

A simple chain of events, witnessed by many…
A simple geometrical shape. Symmetrical. Balanced. Neutral?
The cross is…
The cross…..IS.

Amen.