Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

Easter – Year B

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

18 - The Lord has punished me severely, but he did not give me over to death.

19 - Open to me the gates of righteousness,
        that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.

20 - This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.

- - - - - - -

Punishment does not lead to thanksgiving. Its unremittingness doesn't leave room for thanks. There is no growth available here.

Amazingly a gate beyond punishment, often thought worse, that of death, does offer a new kind of room. In this fashion death can become a blessed advisor. Whatever kind of death is considered, it is a gate to set things right.

Let us turn our face toward whatever Jerusalem mean for Jesus, including a city of peace beyond punishment and more particularly beyond death wherein new life is raised.

This is a strange kind of process to bet on. Will I be raised through such a gate or simply lie amouldering among the leaves so brown?

Death is a gate of the Lord. Abandon hope. Fear and trembling abide. This is a new way of living. Enjoy.

= = = = = = =

In Speaking of Faith: Why Religion Matters and How to Talk About It, Krista Tippett remembers a conversation with Thick Nhat Hanh that surprised her when he spoke about the kingdom of God – "He could not imagine the kingdom of God to be a place without suffering, he says. For how then, would we learn to be compassionate? This is a striking Buddhist inversion of the Christian preoccupation with the problem of evil."

In this same way we cannot imagine Christianity with only the resurrection of Easter and no death of Good Friday. Nonetheless, we are able to abstract this enough that it not affect our own life.

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