Give Thanks and Let It Kill You

WATCH VIDEO:

“Good times gone, and you missed them.
What’s gone wrong in your system?

Good times gone, but you feed it.
Hate’s grown strong, you feel you need it.
Just one thing, do you know you?

What’s gonna set you free?
Look inside and you’ll see.
When you’ve got so much to say, it’s called gratitude.
And that’s right.”

Well how many have found this year incredibly easy to be grateful for? No?
Quite opposite, most likely.
In the season of thanksgiving, how do you…give THANKS when there seems so little to give thanks for?

Good times seem a distant memory, and we miss them.
A year of isolation, of misinformation, of lies, and of hate.

When the obscene and the profane overwhelms, where is the sacred? And how do you give thanks?
What does Thanksgiving even look like anymore?

WHERE IS THE MEANING IN ALL THIS MEANINGLESSNESS???

Well if you’ve been keeping up with me for any length of time, you’ll know I’ve spoken to some extent on the subject of meaning. And about just maybe where the presence of eternity is (hint: here and now, if only you just LOOK for it). However, I was asked recently about what my thoughts were on “those who are worthy of inheriting the kingdom of G-d.” And while I gave a pretty stream of consciousness answer to a very heavy question, I’ve got to be honest, it’s weighed on me since being asked (but in a good way. A good…weigh.). Particularly in light of both the Thanksgiving holiday, and also this holiday season itself.

Who are those worthy of inheriting the Kingdom???

At first glance, I think it’s easy to reduce this answer into doctrine and dogma, and by doing so, completely miss the meaning. And the wonder.
The Kingdom is G-d’s presence. Where G-d dwells. Nothing shameful nor deceitful can enter. It is a place consecrated. Set apart. Holy.
Sacred.

Sanctified.

So it would make sense that those “worthy of inheriting” the Kingdom are ALSO set apart. Also Holy. Those worthy of inheriting a holy, sacred, sanctified and set apart Kingdom…are those who THEMSELVES are holy, sacred, sanctified and set apart.
And YET, we’re told by Jesus that when you pray, it should be like this (form and structure, including these elements): “Thy KINGDOM COME, Thy WILL BE DONE. Here on earth, as it is in heaven.”

Those of you that pray the Lord’s prayer. Those of you that say those exact words, do you ACTUALLY EVEN BELIEVE IT? Do you actually MEAN the words you say when you say them? G-d’s Kingdom come, here and now on earth as it is in heaven, G-d’s Will be done, here and now on earth as it is in heaven.” Do you mean it? Do you really want that? Not to wait for death in order to reach Heaven, but for Heaven to DWELL, HERE and NOW, on earth. (We ARE told to seek the Kingdom first, not wait for heaven….seek the Kingdom HERE and NOW. And given the promise that when we seek, we SHALL find… hmmmmm. I don’t know if that was meant to be a brain teaser.)

I wonder if that’s actually the second bit of that prayer: G-d’s Will be done. The Will IS for the Kingdom to “come,” here and now, on earth. 

Well so then what IS this Kingdom that we’re asking to come and be here and now?
What IS the “Will” that we’re asking to come and be here and now?

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is G-d’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

THIS is G-d’s will: “chairō pantote; proseuchomai adialeiptōs; eucharisteō pas.”

chairō pantote: lit. “be glad always”
proseuchomai adialeiptōs: lit. “pray incessantly”
eucharisteō pas: lit. “be thankful in all (or all things)”

Wow. So G-d’s Will is to celebrate Thanksgiving more than just once a year, and more than just for America.
Hey did you catch the Greek word for being thankful, or professing (verbally) thanks, the Greek word for “giving thanks” is eucharisteō? Where we get our word eucharist? If you’re not Catholic, the Eucharist is the holy tradition of transubstantiation. Begun by Jesus and His Apostles at the Last Supper, transubstantiation is when priests turn bread and wine into His Real Presence, His Body and Blood.
You may think of it as Communion.
Now I’m no Catholic (hell, I’m also probably not much of a Protestant), but I find it fascinating that the Eucharist IS Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving IS…the Eucharist.

And partaking in it IS G-d’s will.

Maybe the Beastie Boys were right:
What’s gonna set you free?
Look inside and you’ll see.
When you’ve got so much to say, it’s called gratitude.
And that’s right.

So G-d’s Will is to be THANKFUL. In ALL THINGS. Good, bad, sacred, profane.
But…WHY? And what about the Kingdom Come?
Is it just the power of positive thinking? Denial of negativity, of wickedness, of obscenity and profanity?

Is G-d’s will just for us to force ourselves to be happy and optimistic, even if/when we’re not?

Romans 12: 2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what the will of G-d is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Well we’re told what the will of G-d is: To give thanks in ALL things.
But again, WHY? Just because we’re commanded to?

1 Timothy 4:4-5
For everything created by G-d is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude (eucharisteō); for it is sanctified by means of the word of G-d and prayer.

Now…I have to take a moment and address the thing we need to take note of: throughout scripture, you’ve got a message that G-d created all things, good AND bad.
Ephesians 3:9 “G-d, who created all things”.
Isaiah 45:7 “The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and chaos (lit. evil): I am the Lord who does all these.
Colossians 1:15-17 “He is the image of the invisible G-d, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
John 1:1-3 “In beginning was the Word, and the Word was with G-d, and the Word was G-d. He was in the beginning with G-d. All things came into being through Him and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

Those last two are referring to Jesus. But they call him “the Word.” And in “the Word,” ALL THINGS are not only made, but ALL THINGS hold together. “Word” here in the Greek is logos. Literally meaning “spoken word.” But also “reason,” and even “meaning.”
So when we look back at 1 Timothy 4, “For everything created by G-d is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude (eucharisteō); for it is sanctified by means of THE WORD (lit. logos) of G-d and prayer.”

If a thing is received with gratitude, that is, a spoken word of thanksgiving, it is SANCTIFIED by means of THE WORD.

When you’ve got so much to say it’s called gratitude.
And that’s right.” 
What if all you say (your spoken word, lit. “logos”) IS gratitude, that is, IS Thanksgiving (eucharisteō), and you aren’t even aware. 
And it’s not only MAKING all things, but holding ALL THINGS together.

And you don’t even know it

But becoming AWARE of it, would it cause you to want to actively participate in it? In the eucharisteō?
In Thanksgiving?

What’s the will of G-d? 
To pray incessantly, and give thanks in all things. But if the Bible is true, then by doing so, we not only SEE the GOODNESS of and in all things (as all things are created by G-d THROUGH the Word that is Jesus), but by doing so, we SANCTIFY. ALL. THINGS.

WATCH VIDEO:

The name Jesus means, “G-d IS Salvation (not “provides salvation”, IS SALVATION)” but maybe the WORD of G-d, the LOGOS, IS…THANKSGIVING.

Eucharisteō.

What if the Will of G-d IS truly to pray and give thanks, to speak Thanksgiving INTO the world. Because by doing so, you SANCTIFY it. You set apart and make holy everything you “give thanks” for.
The Holy of Holy’s was the temple, but somehow beyond just the temple. It is said to be where the presence of G-d dwelled among men.
The PRESENCE…of everything we hope of what’s to come. The Kingdom of Heaven, but in a tiny little living space.
It was the future, but here and now in the present. It was the pace where “it is finished. (telos. Lit. “COMPLETED, FULFILLED”).” A place of Goodness and Shalom. Everything is good and in its right place.
That presence, that space that is Holy and Sacred.
And there was a curtain that separated it from NOW, from HERE. Divided. Separated the holy, the sacred, the sanctified and set apart, from the obscene and the profane.
And then Jesus said on the cross, “it is finished.” And that curtain tore in two. Split asunder.
And that PRESENCE spilled out.
And that presence is now EVERYWHERE, making its way into EVERYTHING.
The Holy of Holy’s is no longer in a tiny little living space. The holy, the sacred, the sanctified and set apart is now EVERYWHERE, making its way into EVERYTHING.

The KINGDOM…has come.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done. Here and Now on earth, as it is in Heaven.”

G-d’s Will is for us to be thankful.
In all things, and for all thingsGood, bad, sacred, profane. The holy things, AND the unholy things. Because when you do, you see that there IS nothing unholy. Everything has worth. Giving thanks doesn’t GIVE worth, nor is it only for things that have worth. It REVEALS worth.

And the promise is, when you give thanks?
All things are sanctified.

Maybe that’s the meaning for this season. The meaning for Thanksgiving. And moreso, the meaning for the eucharist. Catholics consider the Eucharist, the turning bread and wine into Jesus, the “Source and Summit’’ of the faith. We consume Jesus, and join with Him. But the MEANING behind the Greek word, Eucharisteō, IS to GIVE THANKS.
It’s not just to be thankful for Christ. It’s that in doing so, we’re engaged in the sacred. And the sacred is Jesus. And the sacred is giving thanks. But there’s more.
You see, according to scripture, the WORD, the logos, is not only what makes things sacred, it holds all things together. And when we partake in the eucharist we partake of Jesus. When we partake of Jesus, we join with Him in PERFORMING the sacred.
In giving thanks for all things, we engage in creating all things. And ultimately, sanctifying all things. 
Because the Eucharist isn’t just about taking IN Jesus, consuming the Logos. It’s also about SPEAKING that Logos.
And when we do so, we engage in the sacred. And thus, not only reveal our own sacredness, but are revealed, we WITNESS the sacredness of ALL THINGS. The worthiness of ALL THINGS.

 

So to answer that question:
Who is worthy of the Kingdom of G-d?” 
ONLY the holy, the sacred, the sanctified and set apart are.

But guess what, if scripture is true, then we can set apart all things. Make them holy, and sacred.
If scripture is true, if we’re to believe it, WE have the ability to sanctify ALL THINGS.

Maybe that “Word”, the logos—that is, the MEANING, that holds all things together is, “thanks!”
Maybe…the thing that not only creates all things, sustains all things, AND..holds all things together, is gratitude
When you’ve got so much to say (the word, that is, the Logos), it’s called gratitude.

Through OUR thanksgiving, we can sanctify ALL THINGS.

And as such, ALL THINGS are—IN THANKSGIVINGWORTHY of inheriting the Kingdom of G-d.


…And THAT…sounds like “the Kingdom.
And moreso, that might just be what’s meant by the “Kingdom COME.

Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done. Here and now as it is in heaven.

Give thanks, see the kingdom, sanctify ALL things.

Wait a minute! There’s things here! There’s trees! There’s rocks! There’s birds! There’s squirrels! Come on! We’ll BLESS them all until we get vashnigyered!


Let’s party.

Thanks to all my patrons, parishioners, and anonymous supporters for their encouragement and support in writing and publishing this piece:
Abel
Astrid
Caleb
David
Gabe
Jess
Jen
Kelly
Manis
Mathunna
Max
Trini

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Filed under God stuff, Holiday, Uncategorized

Face the Music (A Message About Death, and a Song To Unite Us)

Content Warning: Suicide

there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” –Revelation 8:1

(Partner)
This first part is important. You NEED to have the kids go upstairs and not come down to my study, or outside to the back, until all of what is going to transpire has. This is really important and I do NOT want them seeing this. You already know what I’m talking about, and what you are about to discover. I have more to say, but I understand if you will need to put this down for now. Or for a while.
Call emergency services.
It’s okay for it not to be you to first witness what I’ve done. They can. Call them. And wait with the kids. Hold them tight.

I’ve NOT been in a good place. And I think it’s been obvious. Even if it’s not been overt. I know that you’ve known I haven’t been. For some time now. I’ve felt dead. And today as I write this, I’m already gone. Shadows and remnants are just what’s lingering. The only way I can describe it is that my soul—ME—has already passed, and this husk just exists. I don’t feel like I’m killing myself today. I’m getting back to wherever my soul is.

But I don’t want my last words to be spent focusing on how much I’ve been struggling. Or what I’ve been struggling with. Or why I finally did it.
I’m sorry. I am. But I also don’t want this to be about that. We’ve talked in length about how shallow “I’m sorry” can be. And the truth is, I’ve spent the past couple days weighing the hurt I’m causing with the hurt I overwhelmingly feel personally, and apologies and “sorry’s” just feel hollow and vapid for you to read this, and struggle with everything you’re going to have to face going forward, with me being the cause of it.

So here’s what I have to say.
I believe in you. And the kids. All three of you are strong in your own merits and ways. I’ve come to this action I face before me, because I firmly believe you’re all strong enough to face what happens next. You have got SUCH a strength in you, and for as confident as you are in yourself, we both know that comes with a load of self doubt. Self assured is only one side of the coin. All three of you will weather this. But you, now where you’re at.
You WILL weather this.
Trust your gut. And act on it recklessly. I KNOW you sensed it. You felt it. You could pick up on everything before you left with the kids. You could pick up on everything with me for a while now.
Don’t use this as a means of self loathing. Channel it. Sharpen it. Hone it as the weapon it is. Finally come to trust your gut and your judgment.
And walk in it boldly.
I’m not hurt by who you’ve become or revealed yourself to be. I haven’t been. Maybe my pride has. But not me. And yet, something got lost along the way and you need to find it. Live and love who you are. As confusing as that is and as confusing as you are. It’s not a defect. It’s an existential fact. It’s something others should recognize and value just as much as I have come to. And if they don’t? Then they’re not worth keeping in your circle (yes, this includes family).

Tell Elliot to NEVER stop screaming. I know. It’s something in life that rubbed me the wrong way. Got me flared up. And if I were still around, I’d probably still be trying to work on silencing this expression of hers. But she’s our little dragon.
And her scream is her flame.
It’s…POWERFUL. No one would say otherwise once they’ve experienced it.
She has a fire in her that I’ve only ever wanted to temper and channel. Never quench.
So don’t let anyone or anything quench that fire. Please just try to raise her in such a way where she can feel the freedom to know it’s her power, and know when it’s a time to hold it back, and when it’s a time to let it loose.

Bigby. Ohhhh Bigby. Above you and Elliot, I SO worry about what my suicide will do to Bigby. Our little pack wolf. I don’t know if this is a father thing, but he needs to know I SO look forward to seeing him on the other side. Free from all my struggles. Where I can just hold my boy.
Watch out for him. Because I have the strongest feeling that on appearances and first impressions, he’ll seem like he’s handling all of this. And he’s able to cope. And that appearance can and might just go on for years.
But he won’t be. And it won’t matter how much he comes to even understand himself and maybe even how similar we are, he will still be hurting. And as that pack wolf, he NEEDS that pack. Make sure he gets one that is healthy and good and can bring out the best in him. Not the worst.
I look forward to seeing what he becomes.

I look forward to seeing what both our children become.

I look forward to them, BECOMING who they are, and then greeting them in eternity.

And I know, our beliefs of that differ, but you can at least understand me when I say those things. That I look forward to that unity, that reuniting that I believe will happen no matter what.

I couldn’t do it.
This suicide is me “reaching the unreachable star.”
I have too many scars. Or maybe they’re wounds, not yet scars. I feel too many wounds and I’m just…done with the fight.
I’m just done with the fight.
I’m done fighting.

I’ve talked of community, and the hopes of building that. Maybe this will be an inciting event to orchestrate that creation. I sincerely hope that it will. Call it narcissism, or just a suicidal dying man’s silly last request, last hope.
I believe I will see all of my family, and the infinite families created by my family, in the life to come.

In the meantime, all I can do, and find myself ending with, is the following two commands. They’re not original. But boy do they sum up everything I’ve hoped to convey in my life, and now my death:

Be Excellent To Each Other.
And…
Party On, Dudes!

This was the note I had written and taped to the inside of the garage door, that leads into my house.
It’s been a year since I was almost found hanging dead from my back deck.
Since then, I made a promise never to close off again. Never to mask. Never let myself get that close to the edge.
After that weekend, I burned the note I left behind and haven’t revisited it until earlier this week. It wrecked me rereading it.
To be honest, I’ve been struggling more than I thought I would as this…first “anniversary” has approached.

I’ve written a lot about music.
And I’ve written a lot about pain and about death.
I’m a survivor of gang rape and assault. Of an immune deficiency in my childhood before that. I’ve made suicide attempts before, in my youth. Lived recklessly in an attempt to will the Divine to take my life from me. I’ve cut myself so deep and so often over scars left on me in the assault, that I’ve had to change shirts or wear multiple layers just to hide my bleeding through.
I’ve cried with “the last and the least.” I’ve found myself in that same category, the last and the least. And the one thing that I’ve come to realize through all of it, is that I’d rather fall silent than speak and not be heard. To have my swan song fall on deaf ears is more painful than anything else I can imagine, and the thought of not being listened to when I need it the most, is more painful than anything and everything I’ve survived and endured.
And I’ve found I’m not alone in this.

Death isn’t anything new. Nor is pain. Nor is sickness.
I’m not afraid of those things. I’m not afraid of the end.
I’m scared of singing my dying song and no one listening or caring. I’m scared of working up the courage to cry out, and being ignored. And all too often, that fear drives me to silence. Because I’d rather fall silent, than speak and not be heard.

And I’ve found I’m not alone in this, either.

I’m not afraid of death. I’m afraid of life. So much so that I’d run to the “silence in heaven” than face the cacophony that comes from a life of just trying to be heard.
Or maybe it’s more a cacophony of all the other souls in this world just as afraid of life and of living as I am, but have somehow convinced themselves that it is silence that is scarier. And the world is filled with lost souls, living lives of noisy desperation, believing that their noise is life, because it’s not silence.

When silence is good. Silence causes longing. It causes us to tune our ears and listen.
It’s a call to participate.
To connect.
To unite.
And that’s what we all really want, isn’t it?

Death is the same.
If we all just understood death as the silence we all face, that is.

It’s taken me almost this whole year and a WHOLE lot of growth to realize it’s not being heard that I truly want. I don’t want to be listened to. I don’t just want to be heard or seen. I don’t want to be popular or famous. I don’t want to not be interrupted (Mr. Vice President…).
I want life.
I want unity.
And the more I think about it, the more I realize those concepts are one and the same.
I don’t want my song to be listened to.
I want to play OUR song. With you.

TOGETHER.

(Watch the following clip)

A swan song is a final performance. In the Phaedo, Socrates says that “although swans sing in early life, they do not do so as beautifully as before they die.
Yes. I DID end my suicide note quoting Bill and Ted.
I believed I could find in death what I couldn’t in life.
And then I lived. And the third film came out. And I could not keep myself from crying at the end. Still can’t. Because it conveys a message that lay at the heart of everything I’ve been saying.

Dude, I just thought of something:
How is just listening to a song gonna unite the whole world?”
“It’s almost like they’d all have to hear it in order to play it.”

“And so, it wasn’t so much the song that made the difference.
It was everyone playing it
together.

And it worked.”

I think DEATH is the song that’s going to unite the whole world. DEATH IS THE MUSIC. And it doesn’t just take facing it. It takes surrendering to the silence (and surrender is a type of death in itself), so that we can HEAR it.
In order to play it.
TOGETHER.

Let’s long for life so much that when death comes for us all, it’ll be a party.
It’ll be an event.

I have survived far too much to go quietly.
Let a meteor take me.
Call the thunder for backup.
My death will be grand.
The land will crack.
The sun will eat itself.
” – Rupi Kaur (The Sun and Her Flowers)

FACE THE MUSIC WITH ME.
AND LET’S MAKE IT EXCELLENT.

LET’S MAKE IT A PARTY.

->and the world WILL be better for this… (and for YOU in it)

Thanks to all my patrons, parishioners, and anonymous supporters for their encouragement and support in writing and publishing this piece:
Abel
Astrid
Caleb
David
Gabe
Jess
Jen
Kelly
Manis
Mathunna
Max
Trini


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Filed under Celebrating, Tragedy, Uncategorized

What Is Love? (Baby, Don’t Hurt Me…)

Easter, Rick and Morty, Warm Bodies, and Asgard.
Just What IS Love, anyway?

Sometimes…what you really need is for someone else to pay a horrible price.

The clip above is from a Rick and Morty episode where Summer works for an independent business owner, at what is basically a vintage thrift store, “selling” items that grant the purchaser their deepest desires, while also cursing them. Needful Things.
Oh, and the shop owner is the Devil.
The idea is that Mr. Needful (the Devil) gives you what you truly want (or maybe…what you think you truly want), but makes you pay a horrible price for it.

The store’s only function and purpose is to curse people. And Summer, all the while aware of what’s truly going on and who Mr. Needful, her employer, truly is, is fine with it. Because, according to her logic, “Fast Food gives people diabetes and clothing stores have sweat shops. Is there a company hiring teenagers that isn’t evil? This is my first job and you’ve been nice to me. You respect me.

Well at the end of the episode, Summer discovers she’s just another con, and the Devil really doesn’t care about her. So feeling used, angry, hurt, sad, taken advantage of, and with no way of getting back at the one who hurt inflicted all this upon her, she turns to her grandpa Rick for help.
And do what it takes to physically punish the one who has it coming to them.

And then others.

“Because sometimes…what you really need is for someone else to pay a horrible price.”

Now you might’ve been a little incensed at the language or steroid use-the content, but admit it: Didn’t part of you relish in the physical pummeling of those who “have it coming”?

Don’t you wish defeating your enemies could be a task so easy as beating them up?

Don’t you wish those enemies could suffer? Don’t you wish those that deserve it, could suffer?
Even just a little bit?

Well anyway, it’s Easter. And last time I wrote about a spiritual holiday, it ultimately posed the question, “What do we do when we don’t know the end of the story?” When all we have is the beginning—the unknown.
When all we have is new life.
And Easter kinda has that air of the end of life. Or…at least when you continue that theme of not knowing or understanding the whole story. The end of all you knew. All you hoped for.
The death of dreams.
The death of hope.
The death of connection.

The death of life.

And it’s a funny year, this year, to talk about death like this, because of all that’s going on in the world.
It kinda feels like death is all around us. Knocking at our door. And all we have been doing is walling ourselves off to the inevitable. Death.

We fight. We hate. We fear.
And we struggle. Struggle to survive. And hold on to any bit of power and control that we can.
All in a bid to stave off death for that much longer.

It really is like being in the start of one of those apocalypse films.

All of them have similar themes: a fight for survival, warding off death, and extreme “othering.”
I have to admit, I love a lot of those films. Be they post-apocalypse, like Mad Max: Fury Road, or vampire apocalypse, like Daybreakers, or zombie apocalypse, like Warm Bodies.
In fact, those are actually my three favorite for each category (let alone in general).

For those that don’t know, Warm Bodies is like a zombie apocalypse Romeo and Juliet story. In fact, the protagonist of the film is a zombie named “R”, because he doesn’t remember his name, who falls in love with one of the living named, “Julie.” (See how close they’re riffing?)

But Warm Bodies isn’t like other zombie films. Sure, zombies pose a threat, they are the undead, and they feast on the brains of the living. But in Warm Bodies, zombies seem to be a metaphor for how society already is. Factioned. Divided.
Othered.
And with many now who already go through life like the living dead.

In Warm Bodies, zombies exist in this limbo state. Undead, but not yet all gone. You see, it seems the only fate for the undead in Warm Bodies is to become “bonies.” When they give up. And lose all hope.
Apollumi

But there’s another reason Warm Bodies is a different type of zombie film. You see, in Warm Bodies, the undead can come alive. Or rather, the living dead, become the living life. More alive than those that aren’t zombies in the first place.
In Warm Bodies, the dead come back to life. And not in the “Night of the Living Dead” sense, where the dead come back as undead.
No.
In Warm Bodies, the zombies hearts start beating once again. They’re…born again. So to speak.

And the old paradigms that had sustained society: walled off cities, social division, fighting to survive, othering; all of it dies with death.

At the end of the film, R bleeds. And he becomes fully alive. And he isn’t the only one.
The film ends with a summary of what happens in the aftermath. R comments that from one perspective, getting shot in the chest hurts him, like a lot. But ultimately, for him, it felt good to bleed, to feel pain.
To feel love.
To feel.
And for the rest of the zombies, they all learned how to live again. R comments that for a while, it seemed like everyone had forgotten what that meant: to live.
And the cure? The cure to death, to bring life?
Connection.
R goes on to say how scary it was at first, painful even. But that every great thing starts out a little scary, and might even hurt to begin.
The final shot is of the massive dividing wall being destroyed, and collapsing.
No more walls. No more divisions. No more others.
All are one. In a new life. A new world.
A kingdom that’s conquered death.

This is how the world was…exhumed.”

Many see Easter as the beginning of this new world. Or just like how they see Christmas through the lens of Easter, they view Easter through the lens of their dogma about a Second Coming.
A Reckoning.
Justice.

“X gon’ give it to ya!”

And yet…all too often, they miss the bigger meaning.
Sometimes when you stare at something massive, you actually run the risk of oversimplification, and of missing the actual scope of it all. Seeing only half the picture.
And so for Easter, this new life, this new world, has turned into one that is to come. It’s removed, distant. A hope for some kingdom to come. A promise at the end of a long bridge.
A place far away from here, that death seemingly can never get to; never reach, never touch. There are those on the inside, and those on the outside. And each “deserves” what they get. “Those bad people? They had it coming. And now we’re safe away from them, and from death.” It provides comfort. Stability. Perhaps even an assurance that you did right, did good, and that you’re right where you should be. (Maybe that’s why we need others to suffer. It’s easier to see we’re the good guys then…)

But…when faced with the whole picture, well then it very often feels like all hope is dead. Because the place that you hoped in, that you kept thinking was someplace else. Behind walls. Protected. Safe.
Well now it’s threatened.

To discover the whole picture can feel like Death has infiltrated the Kingdom; infested the place. Corroded it.
It may even make you feel powerless.
Broken.

Death is too strong.
And it can make you feel like nothing.

…Maybe the Cross makes you feel that way.

I would imagine it did for those in history, on that day. To see Him up on the Cross, it may have felt like Death itself had taken Heaven and…sundered it in two.

Asgard is not a place, it never was.
It’s a people.
Heaven (or the Kingdom of Heaven) is not a place, it’s a people.
And because it’s not a place, anywhere could be Heaven.
This could be Heaven. This could be the Kingdom.
But it might just take you being broken to see it.
A Kingdom here. Now. A new type of Kingdom.
A Kingdom of Life.
A Kingdom of Love.

It’s not a place. It’s people. And it’s here now. All around you.
Do you witness Heaven? Or do you fear Hell?

You see, it’s not the pain which ruins you, it’s what you do to avoid the pain.
If you’re afraid only of breaking, let yourself be broken.
BREAK.
Let spirit crack you open to discover (living) water springing forth like it did for Moses. Discover yourself being forged.
Transformed.
And discover that living water. Discover life.
Which can only come from the rock (of your hardened heart) being broken, its wall destroyed, collapsing.

I titled this message, “What is Love?” And I have to admit, I’m still trying to sort out a definition that sits well with me. What I can say is that I find myself in agreement with lyricists of the past as to what love is not.
Love is not some victory march.”
It’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.

True love is precisely this:
Forsaking the promise of eternity itself for an imperfect individual.

Love is something that breaks you.
But it’s a good break. It breaks you TO LIFE.

Jesus was broken by love.
And I think on a certain level, that is what we really needed: For someone else to pay a horrible price.
Perhaps this time away from each other, isolated and alone, is a lot like being in a tomb. But there’s the other thing Easter promises:
The stone rolls away. Walls fall.
And when that happens in your life, may it lead to so much more.
Instead of looking to break others in the name of “protecting” life, be broken.

Let love break you this Easter Sunday.

Discover life. Feel your heart beat. (Perhaps even for the first time.)

And see how glorious it is to hurt in your chest.
How good it feels to hurt, to be pained, to bleed (into one another, even).
What I mean is, see how good it is to feel love.

 

Ultimately…see how glorious it is, when everything is new.

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