Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Ash Wednesday Loop

I once preached an Easter sermon titled "Ready or Not, Resurrection"... maybe I need to read it again for myself.

For this year, I am decidedly "not".

I am not ready for Easter. Not just in the sense of no sermon yet or no bulletins prepared or having conversations with people about music or atmosphere and being undecided, I mean I am flat-out not ready.

I am not ready to hear the cries of "Crucify him" and to see images from the news in my mind of mobs of people pushing black and brown-skinned individuals with whom they disagree.

I am not ready to hear "Give us Barabbas" and to picture a crowd that preferred a murderer to the embodied Word of God.

I am not ready to feel the roughed surface of the congregation's large wooden cross and have it draw to mind the mixed up winter we've had and its total on bodies and psyches.

I'm not ready to talk to people about assisting in worship, while admitting to myself (and maybe to them) that my prayer life has been stalled because of stress, grief, frustration, and anxiety.

I am not ready to try to come up with a sermon that is more that just what I need to hear, because what would that be?

Let's be clear. This is not "Why do I have to preach the same thing year after year"?

This is "How do I preach that thing that I need to preach year after year in the middle of the present pile of sh*t that is fire recovery, election cycle, refugee crisis, fiscal debacle, and general human pain when I am in the middle of all of it as well"?

Even as I type this, I remember again the reality of incarnation... the reality of God being born into that verkakta meshugas that is the creation condition. Good Friday is not God's honor at stake or God's wrath being satisfied. It's the inability of humanity to trust in, conceive of, dare to hope on the truth of infinite grace, mercy, and wholeness and there for killing it because we shut down what we fear.

And Easter is when God says, "Do what you want, but you don't get the last word."

That's what I am working toward in trying to move into an Easter frame of mind. Lent... however long it lasts... is not a long goodbye. It's a long hello.