My friend Kevin Ahern, who is a theologian and ethicist said this on Twitter on Holy Thursday. I found the photo and added the text to it as a reminder of what forms crucifixion comes in. Systematic violence is inherently challenging because it is systematic. We “need” to do this, what are the “alternatives” if we do not do this, we will “get” the bad guys, and so forth.
As Jesus Christ hung on a cross he was flanked by a cross on each side. Crucified next to him were two thieves, and to one, the one who asked for help, Christ promised heaven.
There is no reconciling or rationalizing violence and death. Even when it is done to us, did we not receive the greatest lesson in not retaliating? I get the desire to retaliate, but what about the consequences? What will we choose this Triduum? To follow the Prince of Peace, the great reconciler and restorer of order and good? Or will we follow the path of crucifixion and death? The choice is ours, even if we wait until the last minute. Yes or no? To crucify or to be crucified? Yes or no? What will we choose?
(This is a copy of today’s version of my daily Instagram posts of Lent. I’m enjoying doing this, and I’m grateful for the good feedback that I have received. Today please be merciful to someone you would prefer not to show mercy to. This is what is asked from us, and it is so challenging to respond to God in this way.)
I’m enjoying being off of Facebook for Lent, and spending my time on Instagram with one post per day; a photo and a mini-reflection. You will have to head over to my Instagram feed, or to my Facebook page (where my Instagram auto posts) to read my reflection for today. Essentially, I am thinking about Jesus instructing us to love our enemies.
Hardest. Thing. Ever.
I’ll gladly take a long walk with a heavy cross on my back than to do this. Yet, I try to constantly push myself to do so. I suck at it, by the way. Big time.
It occurs to me that part of the problem is my own lack of willingness to look at the enemy within. Of course I am well aware of that enemy, but my inner looking often results in things like my own defensiveness about myself, my shame, and my superhuman strength at avoiding and denial. I’m great at that stuff. Big time.
All of this is an invitation to me, a good deal of which is more clear this Lent because I am spending less time “talking” via Facebook. Painful is my awareness this Lent that the driest and most arid desert is often found deep within my own heart. Thus, the gifts of death and new life are made clear, but only if I am willing to keep going.
What does your inner search Please be assured of my prayers as we ply our way through deserts of our own making. God offers us so much more, but even for those of us who say we will follow, do we really?
Today’s readings address holiness and poverty. My daily post is up over on Instagram and Facebook. Here is a snippet… And why this image? You’ll have to read the post to learn that, but it is connected. Who is poor? Maybe the person without money is not the most impoverished; a soul without light is a tragedy. All the money and power in the world cannot change that fact, can it?
Monday, 1st week of #lent . Today’s reading address #holiness &doinpagesg right to those in need. #jesus has strong words in #matthew25 . Two thoughts… why do we think being #holy is something we “do?” It’s not task oriented, but perhaps more to do with how we are in #community ?
Hope you will read the rest at one of my otherpages, and offer your own commentary either here or there!
“I gotta put bread on the table!” How often has that line, or something like it been used to justify doing things? Doing things that go against what we know is right. Whether it is not honoring the Sabbath, completing a work assignment that has moral implications, missing time spent with family or loved one… you fill in the blank. We’ve all done it. We all do it.
Today’s Gospel is from Matthew show us Jesus is in the desert being tempted. It has to be hot, challenging, and lonely. He must be exhausted, hungry and thirsty. It would be easy to give in, it would be reasonable even. Right?
But is anything about a life of faith, a life following Christ, ever reasonable in the material sense? Think about that and you have your answer. This does not mean some intense over-scrupulosity that turns self-induced sacrifice into some kind of holy-making exercise. Instead, we are asked to keep God first in our sights and choose accordingly. It means trusting God when the last shred is about to tear away. It is that simple, which indeed that difficult. And it does not always work out in the way we wish for. There’s the rub.
How often do we do what we should not? What else can we do… we don’t want to end up on the breadline, do we?
(I’m off of social media for Lent. What I am doing is posting a photo a day on Instagram, with a short reflection. Each one posts to Facebook automatically. If you are on Instagram, check it out.)
Do you use Instagram? I do! How I love it and use it often! Words are often less adequate, which I say as a writer. It is as a photographer that I encounter images which will often pop for me; they simply express so much more. I am definitely someone who primarily thinks in images.
If you are an Instagram user, you are aware of the use of #hashtags on that site. There are many! More than a few of the ones used by me have been made up by me – I think! For example, #sfmwand #sfmg mean scenes from my walk, and scenes from my garden. Anyway, I’ve taken to using another tag lately – #VisualTheology. Let me tell you -I am not the only one using that to describe my photos! As I see God and theology all around me in images, this hashtag is powerful for me.
This post introduces some of my #VisualTheology photos that I will periodically bring to the blog. Let me know what you think, and please follow me on Instagram if you wish.
Last full day in #tucson. #grateful #morning #sky #sunrise #visualtheology #sfmw
Above you see my my first image for #VisualTheology, on this blog, a photo that was taken last week when I was in Tuscon. As I am having trouble embedding the actual Instagram image, I will insert it from my camera roll and add my own tags. Expect to see more like this!