Today is the last day of this column on Beliefnet.com. After over 12 years of daily writings on Beliefnet, I’m moving on. I thank God for this wonderful experience. As far as I’ve been told, I’m the last original Beliefnet contributing editor and writer; everyone else is new. Now, however, I need to make some […]
I was reminded today of just how far down things can go in life, and how we just cannot ultimately rely on anything or anyone on earth. That sounds so fatalistic and depressive, I know, but bear with me for a moment.
Driving along the highway this afternoon, following my GPS, it suddenly told me to take an exit off the highway. It seemed strange, as I was headed in the right direction. Yet, the GPS insisted that I take an exit and an off-route. I trusted it and took the turn. It led me down some service roads, then off another, away from the main highway. Coursing along an unknown boulevard, I began to realize that it was steering me onto a bridge that was free of tolls. Had I continued along the highway, it would have cost me $6.50. This alternate route was without traffic, off the beaten path, and free. Hooray!
Almost on the ramp to the bridge, I saw flashing lights and police cars. They stopped all traffic onto the bridge, with me and my car at the head of the stoppage, and I thought that this wasn’t a good route at all, and I would pay for my savings, with time stopped. Then I heard music – sad, Spanish music – from a loudspeaker. Then, a big flatbed truck came by, with a giant wooden cross with red draped velvet fabric over it, many white lilies all over the flatbed, and a statue of the broken Jesus Christ, being held in his mother, Mary’s arms. Following the Passion Play float were hundreds of Spanish looking people, heads bowed, in silence, on parade. I remembered it was Good Friday. The day that Jesus Christ was crucified.
I began to cry along with the parading faithful. How very sad that the Son of God Himself, a teacher of love and forgiveness was so totally betrayed. Someone so surely holy and beautiful, a teacher of ultimate kindness, an exemplar of righteousness, would be killed along with thieves. How could the world and its people be so cruel? How did the crucifixion happen some 2,000 years ago? And how can hatred and betrayal of love keep happing now, just like then?
How could humankind crucify someone so loving? May be it’s because Jesus Christ always spoke the truth and exposed the liars and cheats. Because He said to love God and leave family and other untrustworthy souls behind, to follow God. Because He advocated setting aside one’s greed and wealth, and to give it all to the poor. Because His message of love was so powerful, the world couldn’t handle it and had to be rid of Him. Jesus’ message was that of radical love, and it was too much for the world to deal with, that’s why.
Yet, the injustice and horror of it all meant nothing to Jesus Christ. He trusted His Father completely, knowing that He would never be forsaken. He did what he knew had to be done to teach us all that infinite, unconditional, everlasting Love and to take the sins and errors on Himself so that we can be free: to be both fully human and Divine at the same time, and undergo the worst possible travesty that the world and humanity could bestow. He taught us that God’s Love does prevail – the love and salvation with the Father, above and beyond the limits and betrayals of the world and us, the fallen.
So I began to sob at the wheel of my car, at the police barrier, at the parade passing by. I cried for the amazing sacrifice and love that Jesus Christ gave us in His crucifixion. I cried for the betrayal of all of us, by our families, our jobs, our loved ones, the false and graven images of a consumer culture. I cried for those who exploit and condemn. I cried for those who do their best to love, but are squashed down by jealously, hatred, envy, and the hurts and blows that are part of everyday living.
Then my sad tears turned to tears of joy, knowing that the crucifixion and death although very real, are illusions, and worldly too. I remembered that the Cross wasn’t Jesus’ end, it was the beginning – what Easter is all about – the resurrection and transcendence of the pains and sorrow – freedom in God’s Love from the errors and sins of all the world, and of death. I remembered that God is always here, with us, loving us, and saving us, now and forever. I remembered that Jesus Christ is risen, and will rise again and again, cheating and defying human death, living again, immortally and eternally, in the arms of our Creator, God.
The parade passed by, the police waved me on, and I was over the bridge.
I wish you a joyous and meaningful Easter, and Passover – Holy Week.