Saturday, September 3, 2011

Torn Apart

And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” Mark 15:33-39

The hurricane left behind interesting items on the beach. Although the water is remarkably warm and calm, there is much debris to be found both in the water and in the sand. A friend found a plastic wrapper from a bait company in Florida, and although it probably washed off a boat locally, we like to imagine it was whipped up here in the storm. Lots of things came apart in this last storm, and although we were spared the worst, the evidence that the water spits up makes it clear that some places and people will never be the same. Ways of life were shattered, home were torn apart, and people struggle mightily and some lost the battle with their lives.

The curtain in the temple is torn apart as Jesus gives up his life. That which was a sign of stability and control was rent asunder, and nothing would every quite be the same, no matter how hard folks tried to put things right, to put things back the way they were. Jesus offered his life, God in the flesh gave up the flesh in horrid pain, so that the distance between God and humans would be nothing, and no one could separate us from the holy. Many have tried to restore the past order, and many still do. But the great shaking of the earth, the tearing of the curtain, the moment when in death Jesus gave us all divine access, makes us all the offspring of God, no matter what storms may face us.

Today, I pray that we can all rise up and face the tasks before us, knowing that God is not far off but with us in the daily toil, with us in the dark of night and with us as we suffer the pain of being human. May we all be comforted and strengthened by the knowledge that we have been made children of a living God, the near members of God's race and clan.

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