Holy Thursday and Good Friday: Parenthood and the cross.
Holy Week was last week which, for me, means a lot of work related Church. On one hand I absolutely love it. On the other hand it is a lot of work related church.
Junia went with me to Holy Thursday services. It was actually quite lovely to have her with me. At 6 she is able to sit still fairly well, take in some of the details, and probably most importantly, I can set some expectations for her, "this will be a grown up kind of church, you will need to be quiet, do what I say. . . ." She was those things, but even more, she was affectionate, curious and engaged. During the prayer over the bread and wine (Eucharistic prayer) all the Jesuits who were present came up around the altar and prayed the prayer together (called concelebrating). Most years I find it unbearable. More than most events in the church I find that concelebration cruelly points out the male exclusivity of the heirarchy (among other things).
This Holy Thursday I watched those Jesuits up there. From my seat in the front row I watched them watching Junia. I wondered how long it had been since someone affectionately touched them? How long had it been since someone expressed easy love the way that Junia was expressing love with me.
In that moment I didn't want their life or their power. I felt so deeply content with my parenthood and my ministry. (and of course the ideal would probably be that there were spaces for people to be both priest and parent)
I don't love Good Friday. Maybe no one does. I think that it is hard to do well. It is hard to not make it trite, or depressing, or full of meaningless but seemingly theological statements. So I don't want to go into it....except to say that during Roman Catholic Good Friday liturgy there is a moment where people approach the cross and venerate it. This usually means kissing, bowing, touching or some other form of affectionate respect.
Again, in the front row I had a close view of the action. And as such, I saw several black people come up and kiss the cross. I teared up. It was powerful. So powerful to see them kissing the cross. So humbling to think of their own suffering culturally (and likely personally) and know something of their own emotional undertones of connection with a crucified God.
I have been reading a bit of James Cone and this famous quote had been a source of reflection for Good Friday, “Every time a white mob lynched a black person, they lynched Jesus. The lynching tree is the cross in America. When American Christians realize that they can meet Jesus only in the crucified bodies in our midst, they will encounter the real scandal of the cross”
Powerful and important stuff.
So anyway, this is what is up right now.
More to come as we celebrate Easter in the week ahead!!!