A ciel ouvert, sur le Golgotha, nos regards d’abord,
n’aperçoivent que le grain porté en terre et qui meurt…
Le temps est suspendu sur la colline de Jérusalem.
Entre visible et invisible, entre temps et éternité,
La résurrection attend, avec impatience, les derniers rougeoiements du soir.
Comme il faut tendre l’oreille pour percevoir les premiers cris de ce qui naît,
Comme il faut un regard attentif pour deviner la lumière du matin
pour percer tout cet énorme harnachement de souffrances…
Tout à l’heure… le premier dimanche !
Tout à l’heure, à nouveau, la fraction du Pain !
Tout à l’heure, les palpitations de l’aurore du premier Jour !
Tout à l’heure, dans nos mains, l’Amour comme du pain !
16 avril 2017 – Merci pour ton écho à l’autre bout du monde, dear little sister Jo, real friend …
Easter blessings! Holy Saturday …
I took this photo last spring on a misty morning. I seem to have a love affair with dogwood. Perhaps because I grew up with it. Or perhaps because of the legend.
The Legend of the Dogwood
At the time of the crucifixion, the dogwood had reached the size of the mighty oak tree. So strong and firm was the wood that it was chosen as the timber for Jesus’ cross.
To be used for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the dogwood. While nailed upon it, Jesus sensed this, and in his compassion said, “Because of your pity for my suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used for a cross. Henceforth. It shall be slender, bent, and twisted, and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross –two long and two short petals. In the center of the outer edge of each petal will be the print of nails. In the center of the flower, stained with blood, will be a crown of thorns so that all who see it will remember.”
Jesus’ tomb was in a garden near to where he was crucified. And the cross is the story of a tree. Interesting. For the whole story of humankind began in a garden. And with a tree.
Along the way there was also another garden where Jesus often went to rest with his friends and where he was finally betrayed by one of them. There were olive trees there, symbol of peace!
And now it all ends in a garden – a garden that is not only the garden of the burial but also of the resurrection. And the “tomb” becomes a “womb” of new birth and unimaginable new life.
Some of you may remember that we occasionally sang a song during Mass at the circus that went like this:
I say “yes,” my Lord
In all the good times
And all the bad times.
I say “yes,” my Lord
To every word you speak.
This “yes” challenges me. Can I say “yes” in our seemingly crazy world of today? Can I say “yes” to the powerlessness I feel to change it? Can I say “yes” in face of suffering? Can I say “yes” to old age, to sickness? Can I say “yes” to death? Can each “yes” prepare me for that final “yes” and the new life and everlasting joy that will be born out of death?
On the cross God’s power is powerlessness. And even in the garden the Risen Christ, like the frail dogwood tree, is marked by wounds as a reminder of his final powerless “yes”. This morning I happened upon this quote from Ronald Rolheiser, OMI:
“God never overpowers. God’s power in this world is never the power of force, of speed, of physical attractiveness, or of brilliance. The world’s power tries to work that way. But God’s power is more muted, more helpless, more shamed, and more marginalized. It lies at a deeper level, at the ultimate base of things, and it will, in the end, gently have the final say.”
What do these random thoughts have in common? Perhaps this message of powerlessness. The Resurrection comes out of powerlessness, and so, too, my “yes.” And then there is the dogwood tree whose power is in reminding me of the powerlessness of the cross and yet how it breaks forth into beauty. Rolheiser also speaks of rainbows and how they and the cross do something similar. A rainbow shows us what light looks light on the inside, its spectacular colors. Light has a beautiful inside we can’t always see. The cross gives us a look into the inside of God and through it we see the spectacular love, forgiveness, empathy, and selflessness of God. And, I would add, his powerlessness, like the seed that has to fall into the ground and die to give new life.
PS Could you say a prayer for a little sister who just died today? She traveled with us our first year on the road in 1978, so some of you may remember her. Back then we called her Josephe Alice but for many years now she has been “Mary Jo”. All her other years have been spent in our communities in Alaska.