Monday, April 10, 2006

Today, it will reach into the 70s. This is more than a miracle: this is, I guess, the reason people stay true to places like Minnesota.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I have missed the sun and its warm rays for a long time. I am definitely fond of this new development. I don't want to fall back into the trap of romanticizing the wintry past (although, by all accounts, the intrepid long-time Minnesota citizens have assured me that this past winter was "weak" and "disappointing"), but after spending so long in darkness and frigid winds that whipped past my face with brutal and bone-numbing laughs, I welcome the sun with open arms like a father welcomes home his prodigal son. Yes, the sun wasn't the greatest companion - even when she showed up, she shooed away all the clouds in the sky, thus preparing room for the wind to kick up such suicide-inducing temperatures as 20 degrees below zero. But, dammit, she's back now. And as Ben says, we have to forgive her absence.

On another note, it is Holy Week. There are, coming up, some of my favorite worship services in the Lutheran tradition - especially Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil Saturday night...and, of course, Easter morning...okay, basically every single service is going to rock, and I'm looking forward to them with great anticipation.

The excitement is NOT about the fact that Lent is coming to a close, which means my edict to my stomach to refrain from consuming meat is soon coming to an end.

But I cannot wait for the services, especially Good Friday, which ends with (at LCR in Wimberley, Texas, at least) a complete stripping of the altar and the deep purple that characterizes Lent. Jesus is dead, and he will not appear until we shout on Easter morning, "Christ is risen!" Now, we know how this story ends, and we know that God will not let us live our lives without the hope and love that Christ brings. But, as we wait for God to BREAK out into the world, as the curtain of the temple is torn in two, we celebrate the stories of God's people at the Easter Vigil Saturday night.

So many stories adorn the Bible, reminding us that God does not let us - God's people - down. In fact, we have the promises that God loves us, and will be with us always FOREVER, eternally at our fingertips in that sacred document. The stories push themselves out of the last 2000 years, however, and appear today - as 30,000 people marched from St. Paul's cathedral to the Capitol building yesterday in Saint Paul to protest and call attention to the xenophobic, defensive, and downright racist legislation that has been proposed in the House of Representatives. "Si, se puede!", we shouted in unison, a huge throng of people moving together down the street, gyrating to the rhythms of multiple, diverse voices, becoming like a heartbeat of humanity.

But, we do not have to walk in that darkness after Good Friday for long. Soon, we shout, "Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed!" "Si, se puede!" We are empowered to be a force for positive change in this world; in God's world. We are given hope over cynicism, life over death.

Thanks be to God. Thanks, indeed!


At 11:33 PM , Anonymous Katie said...

It's not just LCR.

The church in Kingsbury strips the altar following the Maundy Thursday service - all of the brass is taken down, etc - and the only adornments on Good Friday are the cross and a set of pitch black paraments. Dad used to have them turn off all the lights except the altar lights during the sermon and the brass cross went black. No one had any idea that it would do that. It was a bit surreal.

In the meantime, Holy Week is difficult but cathartic. I'd say I look forward to the services to come - and in a way I do - but I'm afraid that more of it than I care to think about will have grief resurfacing.

Every year I become a little less numb and every once in a while it hurts.

I don't know why I just told you that.

I hope your week is beautiful.

At 3:48 PM , Blogger Jessie said...

i heard it was like 85 degrees in St. Paul today. I'll be there soon! We need to talk and see if it will be possible for us to get together. so yes, i shall call you, tonight.

At 9:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ordain this man, already! M'ijo, I hope you'll find seminary challenging enough. I suppose it will be, in unimaginable ways. Nice sermon for holy week; gracias! PL


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