My faith journey has taken me in various explorations and expansions throughout my life. However that journey has led, I am shaped and have my foundation from Christianity. Today is Good Friday for those of Christian faith, and this marks the darkest day of Holy Week, in which Jesus is crucified and dies as a human being. Of course this all leads to Easter and the resurrection in a couple days. But… we have to go through this night… a sad, tragic night with mournful songs and liturgy. Early in my day I had my Spiritual Direction via Zoom. I value my Spiritual Director and really looked forward to the interaction with her this day. Her offering to me this day to ponder was “What is essential; and what is not.” So I took off for the rest of the day pondering … “essential”. We constantly hear these days of essential workers, essential outings, essential supplies… With people, places and things being termed “essential:, it illuminates the growing divide in this country, around that which is deemed essential. I attempted to attend two different Good Friday services online; and just could not do it. Part of it was feeling so disconnected during this time, and then also distanced by the vehicle of a laptop to attend service. Most of today I focused on readings and engagements on my own, to form my 2020 Good Friday experience. From the San Antonio Express, news came about the 10,000 that came for food; when the food bank prepared for 5,000. Food is essential.
‘ “It was a rough one today,” said Food Bank president and CEO Eric Cooper after the largest single-day distribution in the nonprofit’s 40-year history. “We have never executed on as large of a demand as we are now.” (He continued later in the article to share the miracle.) “The fishes and loaves went from 5,000 to 10,000, and there really wasn’t much left over,” Cooper said. “It was a bit of a miracle that we were able to get done what we got done.”’
I include the full article, as it has many nuggets that lift up the good, bad and ugly happening due to and despite the pandemic. And on this Good Friday, lifts up one of the 80-year-old volunteers quoted as saying “The Good Lord says help they neighbor”. I also heard today of a man on a public bus, and he did not have a mask. A man of authority came on the bus, ironically without a mask on, to announce anyone riding the public bus had to wear a mask. Evidently masks are essential. The one man who did not have a mask (and probably did not know of this new rule) was forcibly removed by multiple police officers. All of the police officers had masks on.
I know for myself, I have been freaking out about going out, as I haven’t been able to make a fitted mask yet, and the bandana thing just isn’t working. Of course, I have privilege, so if I went on that bus without a mask, I know I would not have been forcibly removed. I wonder if this man on the bus, like me, heard about the need to wear a mask, and has not been able to obtain this “essential” item. How I wish this man was given grace. That’s what would be offered from the Jesus I learned about. Another sharing from one of my friends today who is a RN Hospital Manager said, “I am a healthcare worker - a Registered Nurse and to be honest, I don't need free pizza or free cups of coffee. I don't need money off vouchers etc. I am grateful that I won’t be losing all my income due to this virus and as much as I greatly appreciate the gesture, please please please offer a free cup of coffee or pizza to the families who are struggling to feed their children, the homeless on the streets, the older generation or self employed and to anyone else who is suffering financially from COVID-19 measures and are not covered by government grants or loans.” This is one of those messages being passed on by healthcare workers… and knowing my friend; this is truly a message from her heart. And this is the message I would expect from the Jesus I learned about. Good Friday reminds me of the reality of cruelty and darkness in the world. My understanding is, as a human, I have to go through the darkness, and truly experience it… like the Good Friday experience of reliving pain and suffering and death. Each year, I find new dimensions through my Lenten and Holy Week journey. Variations on the theme that there is darkness and there is light… and the light is informed by the darkness. Light does not replace, nor take away darkness. I am grateful for the lessons I learned from my Christian faith. I am an ongoing seeker; and I value learning about many faiths to help me understand the human experience … and will continue to learn until the end of my days on this earth. This virus and pandemic is offering us all the chance to examine, “What is essential; and what is not.” I offer a prayer from a friend this night:
For those being crucified today… Posted on April 10, 2020 by willymac4 - Rev. Will McGarvey For all of those being Crucified these days – for those incarcerated during a time of pandemic, for the separated families still in detention centers around the border, for those shot down in their own houses of worship because of our gun laws, for those in Iran and Venezuela who may die for lack of medical supplies because of US sieges against their countries, for the LGBTQ people literally crucified by the so-called Daesh and other terrorists, for political prisoners executed and hung in Saudi Arabia, for those who live under the threat of being lynched anywhere, for those with black lung disease because they worked in coal mines, for those who die of air pollution for corporate profit, for health care workers not given the PPE and tools they need to protect themselves and others, for those living without shelter who now have no place to go for restrooms or food or help, for those who have lost hope, for those who die alone, and for (please fill in with your list) _______________________________________. O G-d, make the Empires stop, take away their power to do harm, and wake up your people to say “never again” for the last time in any of our memories… May the “angel of death” pass over us all, regardless of the color of our lintels or the names of the divine to which we pray…
May it be so…
Originally Published to Facebook on April 11th, 2020 at https://www.facebook.com/creativecarolcelebrant/posts/152711256219074