This year the calendars of both my spiritual traditions have intersected on this day. As a Reclaiming Tradition Witch I celebrate Ostara, the Spring Equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere (Mabon blessings to my friends in the Southern Hemisphere celebrating the Autumn Equinox). As a Christian in the United Church of Christ I celebrate Palm Sunday the beginning of Holy Week. Both celebrations involve singing and dancing, processions with colorful joy. Both are affirmations of hope and life, both herald change and growth, and for those willing to step into the procession, may wonders and delight await you, even through the unavoidable pain of change and growth.
2016 Maundy Thursday
In my Western Christian tradition tonight is Maundy Thursday. This night and its stories have always called to a deep place in my soul. I find myself rereading the four different accounts of the human Jesus sitting at the Passover meal with his friends, breaking bread, drinking wine, and in one version of the story washing his friends' feet. He goes through the evening knowing that he has stepped over the line and threatened both religious and political authorities so much they will likely arrest and kill him. Some of his friends understand that, but others are pretty oblivious to the consequences of his teaching and healing, of his loving and seeing worth in so many individuals who were generally shunned in that society. I don't know why this particular part of the Christian story is so meaningful to me, it is poignant and painful, raw and human, full of the misunderstanding and betrayal of intimates. I would not want it to be the whole story, but the whole story would not be as powerful to me without this part. So for those of you in my Christian family, blessings to you this painful and messy night in our story. And for everyone in my human family whatever your spiritual tradition, blessings in all the painful and messy parts of our individual and collective stories.
2016 Good Friday
In my Western Christian tradition today is the day we tell the story of the death of the human Jesus. It is a horrible story, full of pain and suffering, human injustice and political expediency. Two thousand years later Christians interpret the meaning of the story in many different ways, there is no one monolithic Christian understanding of Jesus' death. Some Christians believe in substitutionary atonement theology and find comfort in believing that somehow it was all part of a larger Divine plan. Other Christians (I'm in this stream) are not proponents of that interpretation and see Jesus' death in the same way we see the tragic injustice done by and to any being (and most certainly not divinely necessary). In any case, it is a day to mourn and wail, weep and lament all suffering and injustice. Blessings on all those who weep and mourn. May we as a species come to a place where we do not inflict that kind of injustice and cruelty one onto another. May we as a species hold our governments accountable so that they do not inflict that kind of injustice and cruelty on those within, or outside, their borders.
2016 Holy Saturday
In my Western Christian tradition today is Holy Saturday. The day after the brutal execution of Jesus. The day after his friends laid him in a tomb. There are no stories in the sacred text of my tradition about his family’s grief, about the pain of his intimates Mary Magdalene or John (the disciple whom Jesus loved), no stories about his friends’ despair or his followers’ shock. The text is silent. But any of us who have lost a beloved, particularly to violent and tragic death, need no stories. We know what they felt. Blessings and comfort this Holy Saturday to anyone who has who has ever woken up the day after the death of such a beloved.
In my Western Christian Tradition today is Easter (my Orthodox Christian family uses a different calendar so will be celebrating next month). From the very first Easter, the events and meanings of the stories have been experienced and understood in many different ways. For me it is the day I reflect on the mystery of my beloved Jesus transforming through the process of death into the Spirit of the Risen Christ, the Cosmic Christ Consciousness that fills my heart and every molecule of my being with compassion and love for all the beings swirling and dancing in this Universe. It is the reminder that energy can not be destroyed, and that what dense energy, i.e. matter, experiences in its various forms and configurations, is added to the wisdom of The Whole, often through the miracle of death. To my Christian family, however you personally experience Easter, blessings and joy! And to all beings in this Universe, may wild compassion and love sweep us all up in blessings and joy as we swirl and dance!