(How do you greet people during these more somber hol(y)idays anyway? As if the name Good Friday isn’t ironic enough.)
I was going to link to an article written by Eugene Peterson, who gave us The Message paraphrase / translation of the Bible and is one of my favorites writers at this moment for his simplicity of prose and for living that simplicity. But she already did (see what happens when you email someone your ideas? haHa!).
Right now, however, we Christians from what I understand, should live in somber silence. I know I’ve done my fair share of non-Shabot-union work today. But even within those moments I’ve tried to get myself into a place of mourning Christ’s death, mourning my sinfulness, mourning my world’s fallenness (admittedly easy to do when you work at a homeless soup kitchen on some particular days – like this one – and are constantly at a loss for our own humanity to our own bodies and each other) and yet expectant of hope. Hope that a resurrection from the dead will occur; hope that tomorrow, the Son shall rise with healing in his wings; hope that we shall taste life, gushing out as a river from now through eternity. And that hope should fuel us to great acts and leaps of love.
I need more Holy Saturdays if that’s the case.
The second short meditation I wanted to kind of zero-in on was a statement of Jesus about Jerusalem. It’s an observation from N. T. Wright again, specifically his The Challenge of Jesus. He notes the curious processional riddle of Jesus, comparing himself to a hen and Jerusalem – the holy kingdom city – to chickens he wants to protect. From the New International Version:
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.
(Matthew 24:37 & Luke 13:34)
The picture, Wright notes,
is of a farmyard fire; the hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and when the fire has run its course, there will be found a dead hen scorched and blackened, but with live chicks under her wing. Jesus seems to be indicating his hope that he would take upon himself the judgment that was hanging over the nation and city. (86)
Was Jesus being cryptic? Were his own people turning their collective back on him? Was he still to suffer as the mother hen, only with no chicks to protect, a wasted sacrifice? No, I say, for even though the tree (of Israel) itself is holy and will be made whole and reconciled again, the shoot (of the Gentile church) is alive and kicking. And I’m a part of that!