Sunday, April 01, 2007

Time warp

Palm Sunday... the time warp begins.

I've heard this coming week called The Great Week, Holy Week, The Week From Hell. It has been many things for me, but it has never been "great". In the years that I took the week seriously, it was profound, distressing, comforting, agonizing. But there were those years I deliberately passed it by... went straight to the jelly beans and marshmallow peeps without a single thought of crucifixion or resurrection. So what's the difference?

The difference is always what we bring to it of ourselves, where we are at the particular moment in time. Some years I could bring nothing. That's just the way it was... and God did not stop the world to get my attention. My experience has been that God is much more patient and much more subtle than that.

I once railed against the God I perceived in the image of indifferent father, as his only son was slaughtered. That image changed last year when I finally was able to translate the scenario in a new way. (Here's the post)

Years ago... a Palm Sunday service did send me into some kind of time warp. I was in a dark place that held no physical form except the palpable sense of emotion... that emotion was grief, grief caused by a great loss. Someone I knew, someone I loved was being taken from me and I was helpless to do anything to prevent it.

Where in time was I? Was I at the crucifixion? Or was it somewhere else on that blending wave of chronology? In the Scottish Highlands at the time of the uprisings? I will probably never know, but I know that mark of recognition was burned into my soul that day. I wasn't too happy about it either. I think back on the subsequent Palm Sundays when I skipped church for fear of a repeat, or something deeper, something worse.

Fear, the most insidious and devastating of emotions... it either paralyzes us or calls us to violence. The Scripture says: perfect Love has no fear. The reverse is also profound: perfect fear has no Love. Jesus exemplified that perfection of Love, and we in our perfect fear had to kill him for it.

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