The Mess of Easter

It starts with Palm Sunday.

I had to remind the processional party (choir, crucifer, honourary associate, server etc.) that Jesus was neither a Roman Emperor nor was he a British Imperialist (you know, those nuts for form and order).

I think we forget at times.

More than one person was worried about the Palm procession, because we go outside and as we sing All Glory, Laud and Honour, we often get all mixed up.  By the time we enter the church half of us are on another part of the song.

Anglicans do love their order.

God seems to love mess.

The mess of a nice dinner being spoiled by the unruly guest who insists on betraying you.

The mess of a quiet night of prayer in the garden disrupted by burly men and dismembered ears.

The mess of trials that don’t go according to plan and no one wanting to make a decision.

The mess of a crucifixion – blood, bad smells, all the wrong sounds.

Holy Messy Week

I have been a priest for 10 years and each year I approach Holy Week (like I do most seasons in the church) with hope for quiet moments filled with prayer and meditation.  Time to read the passion narrative, to reflect on the story anew, to enter into the drama.  I even pencil those times into my calendar.

New insights, peaceful meditation.

Still waiting.

Day two of Holy Week.  I got my schedule mixed up and missed the service of renewal of vows at the cathedral.  Read through multiple bulletins for the multiple services this week.  Found multiple errors and corrected them.

Wrote the to-do list which included: finish sermon for Maundy Thursday, finish writing meditation on the cross for Good Friday, finish sermon for Easter Sunday.

Oh ya, and prepare the two funerals that are happening in the next 6 days.

Then there is life at home.  Curiously I think parishioners think that a priest has a quiet, contemplative life when they are not at church (and maybe while they are at church too).  Not so – at least, not yet for me.

Messy Grace, in the middle of it all

And then, while praying today, a sense of God’s spirit saying, “Hold on, it’s going to get messier.  Bottom has not yet been hit.”

Dear Jesus,

Friend of my soul.  The stories are told in such a way that we often think it was all planned out.  Each detail, like a wedding co-ordinator would look after, but in your case, a crucifixion co-ordinator.  We lose sight of the chaos, the mess.  The pain, the sudden tears.  The surprise. As though God shared with you the master plans of it all in detail, saying, “And then Jesus, once you’ve spoken to Pilate the first time, you will be flogged, but the pain will only register around level 6.  It will get higher when you are actually on the cross.”

chaos

So you invite me, in the middle of my very real life, into the mess, the chaos.  Into the fatigue.  Into the inconvenient funeral in holy week that takes time away from my preparation.  Into the feeling I’ve forgotten something important, like getting chocolate for my grown children or checking in with the parishioner who is dying.

Grace.  Mess.  And then a whole lot more Grace.  Amen.  Come Lord Jesus.  Be risen anew in me.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ridiculous Abundance

(Luke 5:1-11)

I am tired

It has been a long night/day/week/year/life

The work demanded of me often pushes me to places

I’d rather not go

My old bones are aching.

My hands are worn and cut.

I am tired and all I want to do is

go home

eat

sleep.

Pretend that I do not have to do this again

and again and again.

 

Then you show up and ask for more.

Put out, you say.

Throw out those nets that don’t catch anything but weigh a tonne.

Get back on your feet,

up on your stool,

out the door.

Get going, you say.

 

Can you see me roll my eyes,

cower under the covers,

roll over and try to hide?

 

Yet what can I do when you speak,

but obey.

Even if it’s just to get you to stop speaking

(or so I think).

 

Then

abundance.

A ridiculous amount of fish,

a waste.

Laughter, amazement, fear.

 

No longer tired, there is an eagerness in my feet

and I follow you along a path

that holds no promise

except ridiculous abundance.

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epiphany

Eyes half closed

Against the light

Or the darkness

 

Pathways walked

Preparing me for the next turn

Thinking I’ve chosen this way

When small, yet mighty forces draw me on

 

Vaguely remembered promises

Of a God I hope to know

Whispered through darkened hallways

Persistent for their faintness

 

Sudden light

That is not so sudden

Awakening within what was already known

 

A God known

(despite my eyes dimly lit by a darkened world)

Promises kept

Smiling at what I should have believed all along.

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Evensong

spring peepers take up the chorus of evening prayer

as sky’s banners move from

fuchsia

gold

and

coral

the chorus does not fade with the light

notes continue

to ring out the remembered day’s gratitudes

persistent

sweet on the ears of the creator

 

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Easter Vigil Litany

We wait

again

for darkness to fade

and light to come

Jesus we wait, we wait for you.

We wait

for rocks to be moved

and messages to be carried

Jesus we wait, we wait for you.

We wait

for our chance to peer into the empty tomb

to touch discarded grave clothes with our own hands

Jesus we wait, we wait for you.

We wait

with our wounded hearts

broken bodies

clouded eyes

Jesus we wait, we wait for you.

We wait

on this sacred night

we wait for dawn to break

for hope to be kindled within us

for light and new life.

Jesus we wait, we wait for you.

Be to us a companion in our waiting

teach us patience

give us strength.

May we hold fast through the dark night

that we might arrive,

with all the saints

to that glorious morning

that lays just ahead.

That morning the reveals to us who you are

and who we really are in you.

This we pray in the name of Jesus our soon to be risen Lord.  Amen

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Ash Wednesday

The comfort of dust

of those long dead

settling

on table tops

leaves

and bookshelves

 

Reduced, yet

immortal

memories

through which our fingers make pathways

 

The comfort of dust

of time passed

of age

and being

 

You are dust

and to dust you shall return

 

Be comforted

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Prayer Before You Walk

(This was written for a friend walking the Camino.)

IMG_3057

Starting a hike in Mono Township, Ontario

May my steps along this path take me

deeper into Your heart;

closer to the truth of who I am in You.

May my companions along the way

surprise me with new revelations of your Spirit;

evoke in me a deeper compassion.

As my foot touches the worn path

and my eyes alight upon your creation

may I know your loving embrace more truly

and sing my silent gratitudes with joy.

Journey with me Friend of my soul

that I might walk the true way

always following You

always looking for you in the stranger

always loving you as I touch this world.

Amen

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