Saturday, March 27, 2010
Here comes the Flood
It's time to color eggs again. I think this could finally be Spring's arrival. Just when I believe that to be true I remember the year Richie was born and we took him to The Dells for Memorial Day to celebrate near the lake and it wound up snowing three feet and we stayed in a little cabin off the lake and watched old movies all weekend. We could have avoided the 10 hour drive back and forth and watched movies at home I guess but you roll the dice looking for fun. We were a young couple trying to figure our way into a life with a baby.
My mother was always so excited about Easter. It was by far her favorite holiday. She made these elaborate Easter baskets which I have been known to duplicate on occasion. I love wrapping the little chocolates in pretty paper and wrapping each in a ribbon. Best Friend loves to color Easter Eggs more than anyone I've ever known. It's magic for her, dipping the eggs into the vinegar and finding them deep in color with secret hidden messages written on the shells from crayons. Even when I ask her to color 400 dozen, she's as excited about the 401th dozen.
Easter isn't a joyous holiday for me. I am bothered by the theory that this horrible thing happens and we should be glad even joyous that the outcome wasn't terrible. It was. I don't know how to tell you, gentle reader what is so horrible. I am not always sure Christ is the son of God. I'm not even sure at times he was sent here to save us all. I am certain in fact at moments that if he were sent here to save us, each of us that he would use that power to make us safer, so that we wouldn't even know what war meant.
Even in my doubt I believe there was a Jesus and that in his lifetime he lived large. He wanted to shake things up, change the world and the world was certainly smaller then. It wouldn't have taken much more than a few radical theories about love to make people stop and wonder. Those in power would be afraid when someone fed a starving person, offered to help. When he spoke of not buying a place in heaven but that our father would just give it to us because he loved us, it must have made men afraid. I am reminded that in Lincoln's last days he was sent hundreds of death threats every day. To push aside the fear and do what you know in your heart is best, to live unafraid when fear is all around is quite remarkable.
But you see, Christ had this additional burden. By design, his torture, his death was not only allowed, but choreographed by his parents. When I am in church, during the offering of the host, in tiny voices people sing "son of God, lamb of the world, hear our prayers." He was the lamb led to the slaughter and his parents nodded, encouraged him on his way, knew what they'd do, put him in harm's way. So in quiet moments I wonder what he would have imagined could have been worse, an angry mob set on him or his father approving of his public humiliation, torture and to be crucified while people laughed and cheered and his mother wept. It's hard to justify the end for me. If you were going to take him up, why not in some painless moment, private and without the cross? Why are we always designed in pain? Why can't the moment just pass with a whisper?
I was at a Catholic church a few years ago to donate some canned goods to a food pantry and the congregation was preparing for the Holy Friday. They were covering the church in black and purple bunting and I was in shock at the overwhelming sadness of the occasion and thought in just three days this pain would pass and they would be celebrating again? What of the holy mother? How would she have pushed aside the despair and understood a larger picture when she went to look for her son and he was missing. Mothers don't bury their children and mothers dont abandon them either. And in a year when ten thousand terrible things happen, when mothers here are waiting for the plane to carry their child soldiers home from the Middle East in boxes, hundreds of them, the sorrow of it all, suddenly all justified in a Spring Sunday when we are cleansed of our sins because the son of God the lamb of the world was taken home. The logic of it escapes me.
I wish a learned man would tap me on the shoulder and explain to me in terms I understand why again we are at war in a place that has been at war for thousands of years and will be thousands of years from now. I want him to tell me in soft tones how this makes us safe, how our children will forgive us for this years from now, that we didn't stand up and take charge and demand of those that make these decisions to bring our children and brave men home before one more is blown up in a tank missing his wife and wondering what his children ate for dinner so far away it would be impossible to count the miles.
And if there is a God lingering in the clouds looking down on his experiment, the ants who wander here circling mad destroying and acquiring one another. On this blue marble in an expanse of stars, where men would tell young women afraid and alone that an abortion is murder, explain to me when this stops. Tell me how many Sundays in the Spring will pass before that sacrifice a thousand years ago will make sense and we will be kinder to one another. I suppose when the people who make decisions hear a mother say "please don't put my child in harm's way." they will rush to drop the empire to it's knees and let go of being right and just go back to being. When we are celebrating our president's victory in regards to health care it's hard not be saddened that he hasn't found a way to end the war. I think I will pray for that today for peace and some purple crocus to pop up.
Peter Gabriel wrote the song below after 9/11 when he wasn't sure yet that his children were safe in New York, hope you enjoy.