Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Third Sunday in Easter: Osama bin Laden, Mother's Day, and Jesus

I sit in the office alone pouring through legal documents. Trying to figure out how we got left unprotected by insurance in this slip and fall case when our company went bankrupt.  The Administrative Commission wants to meet with us on Monday night. Sounds and feels ominous.  Mim and I met with Gale Brewer. Trying to get to the big money. While there’s still time. The one year anniversary of our landmarking is approaching.
I sweep the steps. Light the Christ candle. Put on my alb.  Get ready and wait. It’s Mother’s Day. Jim come in and drops off the bulletins. He’s off to Queens to see his mother. I know many of our Latino members will be gone to the cemetery. For awhile, I sit and wonder. Will this be the day? Will this be the one when finally no one shows up? When I  will be alone? Rachel is the first to arrive. 
Then a woman walks in with her dog. She’s from the projects. Talks about a construction crew of formerly homeless people. Says that I should contact them. Tell them Big Bertha said to call.  The young man from Wall Street who’s just back from an  ecovacation in Nicaragua comes in. Then Hugo and Arcadia who are Nicaraguan come in. We are gathering.
I take off my alb. Pull up a stool. This is going to be a casual day.  We chant. We sing. We pray. Then take turns reading the scriptures. I talk about it being Mother’s Day. Though it’s always been a tradition to honor mothers, I know that it can be hard for those who never have been. Who wanted to be. And yet we have all had mothers. Some good, some bad, sone indifferent. And those who have mothered us. The day is what it is. 
I have to begin by talking about how it’s been a week of Osama bin Laden. I’m still  trying to come to grips with this story. Still thinking of victims, families, those survivors from that day. Remembering Kate and her witness and our opposition to the death penalty.  How Bin Laden’s time is already past. How the people of the Middle East are taking history int their own hands. 
How everything else remains the same The war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan will bot end any sooner. And what’s going on in Libya? And what does any of this have to do  do with resurrection living?
Maybe this. Peter in his sermon says. “ yourselves from this corrupt generation...” Couple of issues here. Is this reformed theology? Can we  really save ourselves? And is this generation truly corrupt? Any more so than any other? I think of my son in Berlin, the news he gets from Europe, from al jazeera. Others view us differently than we view ourselves. 
Random irony. It says that on this day, 3000 were many as were lost at the World Trade Center on that terrible day. So, what did that scene look like? Like a stadium? Like the Billy Graham Crusade I went to as a kid?
Here’s the good news...The doors are now open. Unlocked. The disciples are unlocked. They are out now. Doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Their listeners, we’re told, were cut to the heart...

And so I wonder...are we unlocked yet? Out yet? Doing what we’re supposed to be doing? Or are we still walking on the Emmaus road walking with a Jesus we don’t recognize?
Marsha wants to know what got them to get out of the locked room, to stop being afraid, to go out again. What happened? Well, the Holy Spirit happened. The answer’s not quite satisfying. What does that feel like? 

He tries to explain it to them....was it not necessary..he asks for the holy one to suffer and die? Hugo is smiling. Was it not necessary? he says. And I understand.. He was unarmed. Hugo says. It’s not about comparing bin Laden and Jesus. It’s about authorities and executions. Was it not necessary?
Their hearts were burning...(lots of heart stuff today). And in the end, they knew him in the breaking of bread. We should have had this lesson  last week. When we shared communion. There are some commentators who believe that  the actual resurrection, the disciples’ experiencing the resurrection, took place when they broke bread together and felt Jesus’ presence with them again. Our risen Lord was made known to us in the breaking of bread...  In our 1970’s worshipbook, there was a liturgical use of this passage as the standard communion referrant, not the ‘“last supper” passages.
In the end, that is where resurrection living happens , where we truly break bread together. 
After worship, the session sits down together. To prepare for the AC meeting Monday. Marsha and Leila will also represent us  as well as Jim and Hugo.  We will listen. We will see where this is going.
I’m going to make a Mothers’ Day celebration. Beginning with Barney Greengrass. 

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