MAY 19, 2020 TUESDAYThen Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ —Luke 23:34 Don’t waste any time dividing the world into good guys and the bad buys. Hold them both together in your own soul — where they are anyway—and you will have held together the whole world. —Richard Rohr, John Bookser Fiesta, Hope Against Darkness
Dear Friends in Christ,
We near the end of the Easter season. This Sunday we’ll celebrate Ascension. The following Sunday is Pentecost, the last day of Easter. The days from Easter Sunday until Jesus departs this earth, leave the disciples with fear, doubt, confusion, forgiveness and hope for a future they can’t yet see. They are slow to catch on. It seems like part of God’s plan — to finally “catch” us.
A friend and I were talking recently about our present days – fear, uncertainty, isolation, hope. The world we knew, good for some and bad for others, has broken and crumbled around us. A new configuration is yet to come. Must have been like those early days for Jesus’ followers after Easter.
Easter came not on a Sunday morning, but began before the world was, in the heart of God. The Word, the Light of God, permeating creation, made clear in human flesh by incarnation in Jesus. He offers to heal our hearts, clear our vision, to make a way for the Father to dwell in us. The path Jesus travels goes through the valley of sin and evil. If we go with him, he leads us into green pastures of love, forgiveness, clarity of vision and the hope of resurrection.
Jesus’ “last words” before he dies, possibly include you and me? “Father, forgive me. For I know not what I do.” I make wrong decisions. I speak with incomplete knowledge. I forget the humility of uncertainty - I can be wrong.
One of the disappointments that led my friend away from “church people,” was not Jesus. It was how they embodied the Lord they claimed to love and follow. They hated certain “groups” of people. As Rohr and Fiesta say, we divide people, good or bad, by our standards. We may are so anxious about our own goodness, we forget God’s universal love that reconciles. Wisdom is recognize Jesus might include you and me in his words prayed to God from the cross. None of us always see, or want to see what we do. We create a “false self.”
We divide the world. Christ reconciles it. As Paul writes to the Corinthians, a deeply divided people: So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation…All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ…in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. Imagine, you and I are entrusted to bear God’s reconciliation.
Think of divisions you see in this world today – lines you draw, people in groups, individuals, with whom you are at odds. Who would you fit into your “own soul,” so you can begin to hold the world inside you together? Who would you not want standing beside you when you pray, “Our Father who art in heaven.” Start here — “Our father,” not my “my father.” When I read that long ago, God seemed to whisper, “That’s what Jesus means. Look at who you don’t want to bring with you before me. Go and bring them to stand beside you in your prayer. That’s why Jesus is with you always.”
Think about who you would bring into the OUR you pray today. Imagine that person standing before the Father beside you. Stand there for a few moments — “Father, forgive me.” God believes so much in you and me, he entrusts us to do as He has done – forgive, reconcile, uniting us all into His love.In the loving reconciliation of God’s grace holding us this day, Fr. Steve