Friday, April 10, 2009
To observe Good Friday, folks from Woodside and Hughes UMC, as well as some friends from the community walked through downtown Silver Spring observing a version of the stations of the cross. We called it "The Way of the Cross" and we stopped at various social service agencies, ministry partners and public places to read scripture, pray and sing. We lifted up the homeless, the poor, the sick, the disabled, the lonely, friends and strangers alike. We prayed for the righteous, the servants, the followers of Jesus who provide home, food, a place to belong and Christ's love to our community.
It was a gorgeous day and we passed people out for lunch, construction workers, and lots of traffic on Georgia Avenue. Some greeted us with smiles, some observed us with curiosity, some looked away uncomfortably. I overheard a child ask her father, "what are they doing?" We are witnessing to the love of God.
At Silver Spring Interfaith Housing Coalition, our reader's voice cracked with emotion as she read Jesus' command from the cross to his disciple to take his mother into his home, and our command to serve: "Do we notice the homeless men, women and children in our community? Or do they remain hidden from our eyes?" Some unhoused neighbors and a staff nurse joined us at Shepherd's Table. And when we got to the Easter Seals Intergenerational Center, some of the seniors and staff came out onto the porch to be part of our reading. I saw one woman from the staff wiping away her tears as we finished and walked away.
A couple of weeks ago, a little girl at church asked me: Why do we call it Good Friday? Now we know. Because the suffering of the cross was brutal, but out of that came the greatest gift the world has ever known. And out of the suffering that is all around us, there are, yet and still, signs of hope.
Monday, April 06, 2009
And my four-year-old daughter Nora came home from preschool today with a calendar of her week's activities announcing this week's theme: BUNNY WEEK.
Now, let me just say, it's a wonderful preschool. I adore Nora's teachers and she is thriving there. And it's not a religious school. Not at all, in fact. I learned this the hard way back in December when they invited parents to come in and share about family holiday traditions and Nora wanted to bring in her nativity scene, which was fine, I was told, so long as we didn't mention Jesus. You have got to be kidding me...
So I am not expecting them to get into the religious significance of the Easter season. But it does concern me a bit that the most important Christian holiday (more important, even, than Christmas), is (hard) boiled down to eggs and bunnies. If that's not evidence that we live in a post-Christian, neo-pagan culture, I don't know what is.
It's just also a good reminder to me, as a person who seeks to follow Christ, and also to raise my children in this faith, that it's so important to really enter into the story of this whole week. I can't just go from Hosanna! to Hallelujah!, omit all that comes between, and really expect that the resurrection will have any impact on my life or faith.
So may Jesus keep me, and you, near the cross this Holy Week.
PS. I did feel a little better knowing that the kick off to "Bunny Week" was reading The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, which, if you haven't read it lately, you should, because it's a sweet story and one of the best metaphors for God's persistent love there is!