Tuesday, April 3, 2012

2012.04.07 Finding the Way: the Faith OF Jesus

Holy Week, safely— or unsafely— launched, is at least a good enough thing. It’s like finally getting a diagnosis for this spiritual ailment called longing and wondering, suspended between two gardens: Eden of paradise and Gethsemane of agony-knowing-death. Most of life is spent between these two gardens. I resist them both.

My religion tells me that I will go through hell and somehow I will last, no matter what. That was the faith OF Jesus, a far better way to live than trying to have faith IN Jesus, a treacherous path snarled up with a zillion contradictory interpretations.

If you’re a Christian—lapsed, relapsed or unlapsed— it’s best to buckle your seat belt for this wild ride following the Jesus story in his last week. (I hope my last week, whenever that is, won’t be as bad as his was.)

I want to get to Easter and new life, but I know there are painful steps along the way if I choose to follow the faith of Jesus.

Along the way I will get from scripture, once again, powerful reminders of this faith of Jesus:
Love one another: try the politics and policies of love, kindness, generosity, plain caring, and forgiveness.
Weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.
Be silent with God the Good Father; die with God the Beloved Son/Daughter; brood with God the Spirit.
Let yourself be raised up in whatever way that can happen for you, and easter forth.

I like little homilies that just flow forth like that. I also know I’m being preachy. And also know that something in that homiletic may be taken up by Spirit and deposited where it will bear fruit I will never see.

By my home altar I have the book of a pastor and preacher, the late Howard Thurman. He spoke and wrote wisdom all his life and when he died in 1981 he was Dean Emeritus of Marsh Chapel, Boston University. Thurman also served as professor of theology at Howard University in D.C. The book, “Deep Is the Hunger,” is old, 1951. It is also eternal. Here’s what I opened to today.

A night so wild with the
glory of the moon
that the earth covered its face
On the pathway of my mind
long, long thoughts run riot.
They are quieted; not by the
beauty of the moon
On the covered face of the earth—
But by the passionate swelling
of awful harmony:
“De Old Sheep, they know the road.
Young lambs must find the way.”
My heart whispers to God:
“Let me always be the young lamb.”