Saturday, March 2, 2013

When I study I feel close to God


For the record...the Open Mic ended with RL doing a Yakima benediction with Amanda on flute...

Purim is ending..last day to buy hamentaschen. At Barney Greengrass, Gary wants to share his naches, ie, joy...He shows me his pictures of his son in his Purim costume, Hulk Hogan WWE style perched on Gary’s head. I show him my three boys. Two dads. Naches...

Martin is still trying to figure out how to make this work. Mim stops in to see how we’re doing  and stay on top of where we are. The mumbling man drops by. And of course hits me up for money, just one last time.   

Good turnout for Bible study tonight. We dig deeper into Mark 14. The betrayal by Judas Iscariot. How Iscariot means assassin, one of the Iscarii, a group of underground revolutionary killers. Wondering how he got there. What was the story of his call? Was he a boyhood friend? Did he seek Jesus out? Wanting ti see if he was a true leader? Or...?

Then the story of Jesus celebrating the Passover with his disciples. A holiday celebrating the passover of the angel of death. Of the journey out of bondage in Egypt into freedom. With the man carrying a jar evidence of a well organized underground cell group leading to the upper room in a safe house. 

Jesus prediction of a betrayal. The mystery of that. If this needed to be, had to be, what was the problem? This holiday would normally be celebrated with family.  Here Jesus is with a family of choice, not birth. Intimacy and solidarity. Betrayal the greatest breaking of solidarity. And still....

It seems to be about choice and consequences. Judas fascinates us. Popular culture like Kazantzakis, like Jesus Christ Superstar, has him a friend of Jesus. Is it disappointment? The sense that Jesus is letting down the revolution? A liability? The recently discovered Gospel of Judas makes this a duty that only a very special one can take on.

What does Jesus’ comment It would be better for that one not to have been born mean? If Jesus is fully human, he must experience the full range of human emotions for this experience to mean anything. He must feel the anguish if emotion. He does not choose martyrdom. He chooses faithfulness and follows that where it will lead. Even within the narrative’s inevitability, there is this sense of choice and its cost. 

In his creating the Lord’s Supper, he riffs on the Passover story. Instead of looking back in memory, he turns our eyes forward.  He will be the passover lamb sacrificed for our freedom, so that the angel of death will not triumph. By joining with him, we choose a life even if it means death. It's not about heaven, Not about  a reward. It is about now.  A choice that because it frees us from fear breaks the power of death. As Zwingli said, it is not the bread and wine that is transformed but we ourselves, the people, who become the body of the ever living Christ. And with that, Jesus begins a fast of solidarity that will last until his death. 

Fred Hampton
Finally, Jesus predicts they will all turn away, desert him. The powers clearly believing that if they take out the head, the rest will fall away. On the one hand, we remember the FBI's systematic killing of Black Panther leadership in 1969 beginning with Fred Hampton. On the other, we remember Oscar Romero saying If God accepts the sacrifice of my life, may my death be for the freedom of my people.  A bishop will die, but the Church of God, which is the people, will never perish.
Oscar Romero
I do not believe in death without resurrection.  If they kill me I will rise again in the people of El Salvador.
Of course, rash impetuous Peter refuses to believe this will happen. And Jesus tells him he will be wrong. Three times wrong. 
I am beginning to believe in the true radicality of Jesus’ way. Something deeper than ideology. Something deep as life itself.
I went into the study tired and depressed. I came out refreshed. I remember John Dominc Crossan when asked if he prayed, hesitating and then saying No, but I study. And when I study, I feel close to God.  

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