...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Friday, March 29, 2013

Love's Still Crucified

In the same night we betrayed him... And he is still betrayed in me and us.  Whenever we deny our God- given and God- created self, we also forsake the best in ourselves, and the way of Christ. Brian Wren penned these lyrics to "Christ Is Alive,"  also #318 , United Methodist Hymnal:

"In every insult, rift, and war where color, scorn or wealth divide, Christ suffers still, yet loves the more, and lives, where even hope has died." 

The tune is fitting for a  bright and triumphal Easter tide processional. But the point is that we are still crucifying Jesus and his way-  as surely as we were sitting on the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high court, or if we were in Pilate's court of advisers, or apart of the Roman guard carrying out the execution. 

Christ still suffers and we still crucify him because of war, which assumes the murder of innocents, and hatred based on race, nation, region, economic system, and any other system of pride that we can or might create. 

It's easy to make Easter hyper-personal.  If we're not careful, we will make our faith so much about ourselves. We can make being a Christian all about the blessings we can have, get, and grab. Others will look at that and wonder how being a Christian is any different from any other species of self-centered concern.

The truth and freedom is that we are much closer to the disciples' doubt and terror- of which the New Testament Gospels are brutally honest. They were there the first Easter. The accounts show no hint of triumphalism in their actions.

 The good news is that by God's life and breath, the doubt and terror become seeds of transformation. We learn that in our brokenness, Jesus Christ loves the more. The loss of having it our way means that if the seed dies, it will bear much fruit.  (see John 12:24)

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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