[A Lenten meditation through the fog of flu medication]
The father doesn’t want the son telling him what to do with his money, or his address, or his car keys. The son doesn’t know why the father hears in his pleas judgment; instead of love. Criticism; not concern.
The friend who liked your son’s graduation photo, and your quirky poem, and the thing you shared that was shared by many before you, suddenly doesn’t like a word in a comment you made on someone else’s page, so she goes silent, and by the time you ask her why, she can’t explain so talks of something you did too long ago to mention, but mention she does, and you order a pizza online while wondering why you ever asked.
The politicians, vowing to save, fix, cure, gather, build, contain, protect, and who do so with lips curled and fingers pointed and stories structured to project harsh light on the other and soft light on self, for after all we are old, and lined, and the years have not been good to us and soft-lighting is best.
The daughter, who texts from college, with newfound vigor, adamant that unity is the answer and peace is the way and fear is pointless and the time is now, who makes us smile as she vows that she and her classmates will surely rise up and go forth soon and very soon as soon as she finds something to eat because the snacks from the last care package were gone in a day so thanks again for sending them.
The son texts the sister, who explains the backstory about the father who will talk about anything except the failing health of the woman who physically stands in but can never take mom’s place really, but what can you do?
Inside the church, the committees gather, and plan, and report, and proceed, looking at calendars, and websites, and emails, and occasionally even the bible as the meetings linger longer and the workers dig in deeper and the prayers that close a meeting become shorter even though they are the oasis to which the thirsty are crawling.
The pastor, seeking inspiration, listens to theologians reminding that we not get distracted by asking why and instead urge the weary to look within for it is not for us to point the finger but to ask the question, how have I changed, what have I done to understand those with whom I might vastly disagree, and the pastor wonders if perhaps the Psalm would be easier to preach this week.
This week …The temp-permit holders vacillate between dedicated homework-doing and over-the-back-of-the-couch flopping; between drinking enough water and eating a large pizza, solo; who bark at the dog for barking, then give him the pizza crust they wouldn’t give their brother, frantically switching the channel so the gentle commercial music doesn’t come near enough their guilty conscience to whisper the truth.
The online theologians now speak of holy manure, and how it is through such crap, that Jesus slogs in order to show us the way.
The way …through the snarled up communications and fears hiding behind flippant retorts and statistics spoken as if they make any more of a case than the impassioned pleas of the ones they represent and what’s this? Shameless is entering a new season to be watched by more people than the news because at least with Shameless we know who is to blame and it is not us.
And in the end, the cacophony and chaos we create or navigate around is there because we are so damned uncomfortable with the truth.
The truth …that we are scared at problems we don’t know how to fix and our lack of answers makes us angry and Lord have mercy, being angry has always been easier than suffering sorrow.
For according to the Gospel, even Jesus, only wept…three times.
Stranger still, he rose from the dead but Once. For all.