Sunday, May 1, 2011

Shalom....Is Way Beyond Peace!

The Paschal Mystery is "THE" mystery of our Faith. We proclaim this mystery again, and again. We are being brought back, as it were, to a well that has no bottom, but offers endless refreshment with mystery we are led, always, to a deeper understanding of what we thought we already understood. There are layers upon layers of meaning to mystery. The challenge of The Paschal Mystery is, we have to deep inside so as to be brought to and ever new realization, we are this Mystery. All this happens through grace. It cannot be hurried. It is a very slow process, taking place in God's gracious, ever so gentle time. We will be brought gentle, and slowly to an encounter with all that Jesus endured. We are called to be like Him. We are called to follow Him , so that where he went we are destined to follow.

To be a disciple means, that whatever Jesus and those first disciples we through, that is the journey which we , of necessity, we will always be on. The journey we read about in the Scriptures will be enfleshed by us, in the world we are given to live in. The same joys, and sorrows will be, as they have been , our every day experience. This is the process of, soul making. Here is what May Sarton has written, "It is only when we can believe that we are creating the soul that life has meaning, but when we can believe it-and I do and always have- then there is nothing we do that is without meaning and nothing that we suffer that does not hold the seed of creation in it". Pretty power-full stuff???

So in every death IS sewn the seeds of the Resurrection. Just as in every success is sewn the seeds of loss and disappointment. In every success we must be aware Calvary is now our Destiny. This is our spiritual journey, and there is NO moment we are not on that journey. On this journey there will be times when we can be glad we are on this very mysterious way. We can join the Palm Sunday crowds and recognize, for a time, who Jesus is. Life is so good when we are aware of His presence, and His ready worse of advise. It is all together when we can identify the disciples hidden away in that room, with the doors locked. He who they followed is now no longer present. He has let them down. Their expectations have not been met, consequently resentment has set in, as it always does in cases like this. May I suggest some of the feelings which those 'lost" men and women had to deal with on that first Easter morning. From the scriptures we see, the following, helplessness, confusion, bewilderment, hopelessness, disconnectedness, frustration, guilt, fear, shame, anger, hurt, all leading to excruciating, and paralyzing pain. That is the same with all of us who as spiritual beings, who are having this oh so human experience. When we are honest, and honesty is a necessary prerequisite for the spiritual journey, we can say there is not one feeling on that list that has not been part of our human experience. Now admitting, and owning those feeling is something all together different. That is another process to speak about. (Go back to the very beginning of the blog and there you will find some insights, and also something to practice, practice, and then, practice some more.)

Is all lost then for the disciples, and us? Of course not, that is what the skeptics say. When all SEEMED lost, then the Risen Christ appears. What are His words to those who had betrayed, abandoned and deserted Him? Were words of disappointment, and resentment uttered? Did He bring Peter to task for his denial? A denial that was foretold. There was no, “I told you so”. Jesus came to reveal that God's ways are not our ways. They are way and beyond what we can imagine. So there is no condemnation, "For in God there IS no condemnation". Rather, The One who was so cruelly treated offers the gift of Shalom. Shalom is the greeting of the Risen Christ. For the longest time I thought that shalom just meant peace. It does mean peace, and so much more. Shalom means ALL of the following; Contentment, harmony, rest, completeness, soundness, wholeness (holiness), health, safety, prosperity, tranquility, the absence of agitation and discord, last but not the least shalom means peace. What a great gift offered to those dispirited men and women? That gift has been with the disciples of Jesus Christ through the centuries, until it reaches you and I, as we live out our lives in 2011.

For each one of us, again when we are honest, there will one, two ,or three or even more of the gifts of shalom we are need of right now. What do you need of the Risen Christ that will make life a little more bearable? What is the darkness that is our present life experience which is need of THE LIGHT, so we can discover in that darkness our tomb experience. We ask to be lead to the belief this is where we are buried with Jesus, and just as He was risen we too shall enter a new and different way of living. This is the GUARANTEE of our faith. Let us not hesitate to claim this reality. Yes, Christ has died, and I have died with him. Just as Christ has risen, I too shall experience the same joy, the same freedom of The risen Christ. All that Shalom means, can be ours. All we have to do is really claim who we really are. I forget who wrote the following, I like it.

“Make ready for Christ, whose smile like lightening, sleeps in your paper flesh, like dynamite." Wow !!! Are we ready for that ???