One of the quirks of doing ministry within the liturgical calendar is that we often have to think about things out of order, so that they might be presented in order. That is, in the middle of Advent, I really should be planning Lent, in a time of hopeful expectation, planning the mournful journey to the tomb. The liturgical calendar is designed to provide a flow of life: beginning, ending, and beginning again. However, I often do not experience it that way. Instead, I live in that tension, life and death and new life all coexisting pulling my focus from moment to moment. Today was one of those days.
This morning I participated in the Dallas Area Christian Progressive Alliance’s Good Friday Walk. The walk this year was dedicated to children who have been killed by gun violence. We heard meditations from ministers, progress reports from activists, and the testimony of a mother whose teenage daughter’s life was taken. As we walked, we carried pictures of the dead children. Mine was a six-year-old boy named James who was killed at Sandy Hook. We shuffled from park to park in downtown Dallas showing the dead the sights they will never see. It’s obviously sad – heartbreaking and heartwrenching, really – but it’s also bewildering how we can see these tragedies unfold again and again, yet nothing changes. The powers and principalities of this world seem to have won – again.
But now is the time to plan for Easter. The message of Easter is the message of hope. Jesus was crucified on the cross, humiliated, beaten, tortured. But on the third day, he walked out of the tomb. The powers and principalities of this world may have won again, but we are a resurrection people.
By the logic of the liturgical calendar, death and life are separated. While they play out in a loop each year, there is an orderly progression: birth, death, new life, and final judgment, the triumph of the dreams of God. But our lives are messier than that. Death and life are intertwined. Moments of humor are found alongside moments of tragedy. As we walked this maudlin walk this morning, we passed a bar playing Frank Sinatra on the loudspeakers: “Each time I find myself flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race. That’s life.” An Easter message of sorts. We are a resurrection people. Life and death are intertwined, but we get back up.
Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center, as we celebrate the resurrection, the hope of new life.
Grace & Peace,