Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Old, Old Story

Passion Sunday

I don't know why it hits me so powerfully sometimes and not at others. Today was one of those times. Like the rest of you who follow the RCL, today we read Matthew's account of the Passion story (Matthew 26:14–27:66). And it broke my heart.

Fully human, Jesus goes to Gethsemane, and he agonizes in prayer about what he (surely) knows is to come. And of his twelve dearest, closest friends, not one can even stay awake, much less join him in the most fervent prayers of his life.

Jesus – God incarnate – is betrayed, derided, and mocked by the people he loved so much that he came in human form to live among them and accomplish their salvation. Our salvation. And finally they murdered him. Killed the Son of God who loved them that much.

Sitting here in the 21st century, with the benefit of all the Scriptures, I like to believe I would have behaved differently than the disciples, differently than the religious folks and the rabble who colluded in his execution. But I wonder . . . .

As we sang today in the gradual hymn (#458 in The Hymnal, 1982):

O who am I
that for my sake
my Lord should take
frail flesh and die?


never was love, dear King,
never was grief like thine.

Never was love like his. Never did anyone bear such grief. It's a sobering and perspective-changing realization, isn't it?

A friend is wont often to tell me, "Remember that you are beloved by God beyond your wildest imagining." Intellectually, I know that's true. But it is hard for me to believe; I need a lot of reminding. This morning, I got a little taste of it. And I found myself remembering John's words: "Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end."

Through this Lent, I have had a hard time. Shug's death and some other personal issues have consumed my attention. I am grateful for those of you who have watched and wept with me. I must also confess I've been more absorbed in my own struggles than in the keeping of a holy Lent.

It's time to change my perspective. I'm going to try to walk with Jesus through this most holy week.


Blogger Nina said...

Welcome back!

I will be singing that great spiritual, "I Want Jesus to Walk With Me," for you this week:

All along my pilgrim journey,
Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me.

3/16/2008 6:17 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thank you, Nina. And I'll sing it with you.

It's going to take a village to get my head screwed on straight. Fortunately, between my literal parish and my online parish, I hope it can happen.

3/16/2008 6:31 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Wow! You have no idea how much you've helped me with the sermonic challenges that face me this week. Thank you, my dear. I'm so glad you're back. Right on time.

3/16/2008 8:26 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I'm glad to hear it, Elizabeth.

It really is the old, old story. We've all heard it, time and time again. I sure don't envy you clergy, who are challenged each year, each Sunday to "say it new." But we can't hear it often enough. The world beats us to a pulp all the days of our lives. I need to hear you folks reminding me from the pulpit that God loves me -- even me. Some days, that message actually gets through. And I thank God for you who keep saying it again and again and again.

3/16/2008 9:08 PM  
Blogger Jeffri Harre said...

Welcome back, Lisa!!

Sometimes we just have to live Lent. You've been doing that, whether it feels that way or not.

We've missed you, and we've kept you in prayer. The hearth is going, and the water is boiling. Have some tea and be welcome.


3/16/2008 10:37 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thank you most kindly, Jeffri, for those comforting words. I hope you're right.

Alas, my Anglican roots haven't matured to the tea-drinking stage. Make mine a triple grande latte. {g}

3/16/2008 11:01 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Go for the latte and don't worry about milkfat during Lent. The outer rituals pale before the inner reality and you have had plenty of that this year.

You have been held in prayer, daily, by so many folks, and will continue to be. I join in rejoicing to see you online. You have been missed, though we have all understood. The village is there for you. And, far more importantly, so is the One who loves you and each of us that much.

3/16/2008 11:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if this reading broke your heart because your heart was already broken. It happens for me that way sometimes.

Thanks for this. It sticks to my ribs...

3/17/2008 10:13 AM  
Blogger JimB said...

I am glad to see you back. Yes, Jesus really is crazy in love with us. It is hard to accept at times, especially when we do not feel particullarly lovable, but there it is.

Holy week with its amazing liturgies can carry us forward to healing. I hope and pray it carries you that way this year.

Jim's Thoughts

3/17/2008 10:14 AM  
Blogger John D said...

i've held my breath waiting for your return to(some) folks you don't even think you know.

G-d's Peace.

3/17/2008 9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I have been holding you deeply in prayer these weeks during your silence

Sounds like your Lent has been kept by your grief and the other circumstances with which you have had to deal in recent weeks.

This comes with prayers and wishes that you may experience the joy of the resurrection in unexpected ways!


3/17/2008 10:56 PM  
Blogger Suzer said...

Glad to see you back, Lisa. :)

3/18/2008 11:12 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Hey, y'all. You've just about overcome this ol' broad's heart. I thank you deeply.

Paul, I never did worry about milkfat -- Lent or no. Mine's a triple grande latte with whip. No fat or cholesterol worries here.

Lindy: Yeah, I think I arrived pre-broken.

JimB: What I would give to believe that in my bones!! That Jesus/God is "crazy in love with us"? Yeah, I'd sell the farm if I could believe that in my bones. Mind you ... I do believe he loves the rest of you that way. But, for the life of me, I cannot believe it about me.

JohnD, Mystery Man: You're right. I had no idea.

Joan, I'm truly grateful that you continue to pop in here from time to time. I continue to wrestle ... as I suppose you can hear. I hope life in the new parish is being most blessed for you!

Suzer, thank you. And my heart was in my throat with the news about your tornadoes. I lived in Midtown then Grant Park, and was (for a while) often in Cabbagetown. The photos were heartbreaking.

You all knock my socks off. I really don't understand, cant believe, you've been willing to keep this long vigil with me. I am profoundly grateful for this virtual village.

3/19/2008 10:18 PM  

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