Monday, April 21, 2014

Both Lord and Christ

By Beth DeCristofaro

On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jewish people, “Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:36)

… they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”  She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” … Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.  (John 20:13, 16)

Ever-renewing and energizing Creator,
Come, stir in my dormant spiritual limbs.
Wake up my tired prayer.
Revive my weary efforts of care.
Sing hope into my discouragement.
Wash my dusty, drab attitude
with the cleansing rains of your vision.
Go deep to my roots and penetrate my faith
with the vibrancy of your grace.
Shake loose the old leftover oak leaves
of my tenacious ego-centeredness.
Coax joy to sprout from my difficulties.
Warm the buds of my relationships
so they bloom with healthy love.
Clear out my wintered debris
with the wild breeze of your liberating presence.
Nudge me, woo me, entice me, draw me to you.
I give you my trust and my gratitude
as you grace my slowly thawing spirit.
Light-filed Being, my Joy and my Hope,
let the greening in me begin!

(Taken from Out of the Ordinary 2000 by Joyce Rupp.
Used by permission of Ave Maria Press.  All rights reserved.)

Holy Week was on one hand more ordinary than an ordinary week for me as my work schedule kept me from as much “holy” activity as I would have wished.  Instead I walked the way of the cross with grieving families, intensely aware that the Lord hurt with them as they tried to keep their feet on the ground and their faith before them just as he did on the walk to Golgotha so many years ago.  I found myself praying as I went last week, often.

At the same time I was humbly aware that the Western Christian Holy Week, Orthodox Church and Jewish Passover all were co-existing on the calendar together along with Hindu and Jain holy festivals.  This might be a coincidence of chronological record-keeping but I always find it inspirational to find synchronous moments in time and space that remind me of how many and how often humans seek the divine. 

Peter might be astounded to know that today the whole world knows of Jesus the Christ.  He certainly would know intimately how it felt to lose Jesus within himself having denied him three times.  That is a wretched knowledge that I have as well, having “misplaced” Jesus too many times to count by focusing and acting in sin, distractions, falsehoods, sanctimoniousness, pejorative thinking or talking.  Jesus called her by name and brought Mary’s attention back to him.  Jesus will do the same for me again and again. 

Despite the heartbreak of denial, the fear of loss, and the catastrophe of execution, Jesus pointed his followers toward the joy of His presence as Christ with them, with us.  How can I manifest this joy despite struggles and defeat?   What must I lose in order to not misplace Him?  In order to find Him within?  Am I open to seeing Him in others?

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