Sunday, April 4, 2021

God is Love

John 20:1-18    

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”   Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Holy Week is always rough for me. Partly because of what is happening in Judaeo-Christianity during this time and all that is represented. But personally I have had some extremely rough times during this week that got indelibly engraved on my heart because it was Holy Week, I can't unremember when they happened. This year is one such year.  I'm thankful that there were more opportunities in this week the read and hear teachings, they always bring me back to life and love by Easter. Here are some of highlights from this year and my thoughts:

"Love is unconditional. We love even those who betray us, we love even those who deny us, we love even those who abandoned us.  And we are called to love with the same extravagance as Mary Magdalene.  We are called to love even in the face of difficulty and death because we know at some point in life we are Judas, and at some point in life we are Peter, at some point we are the disciples that scatter, and at some point we love darkness more than light.  And yet Jesus never abandons us.  He still serves us, still forgives us, still washes us clean. And then bids us to do the same; to serve, to forgive, to engage in the cleansing act of loving neighbor.  Even when they or we are at our worst." -Fr. John Herring

Start at 27:30:

This. No matter how angry or sad I get, love is always available.  How wonderful to experience both. As I stated last week it is hard to deeply appreciate love without having had the opposite experience.  If all you have ever experienced is love, then where is the appreciation of love, the deepness of love, the understanding of exactly what it means to be loved or to love? God is love and where true love is God is there.

"Easter reminds us dramatically that when it’s God’s will, you can betray it, arrest it, whip it, spit on it, push nails in it, hang it on a tree until it dies and bury it underground and still, shockingly, God will defiantly resuscitate it...The center holds because love is the most durable substance in the world. And, God’s way to reveal the center, the real center, is to dismantle by love and with love everything that is not love. Now that’s power! True power! God is love. And since love-power is energy, it generates energy. We call that energy hope. And since, everything but love ultimately is frail and failed, we are right to hope in God. So we apply God’s words and ways to our real lives" -Bishop Wright.

To me this also points out a big wondering I've always had. What is the difference between resurrection and reincarnation? I think it boils down to energy and body. In resurrection the miracle is the body and "love-hope-energy" returning. In reincarnation there is no body only "love-hope-energy".   How can we define this love-hope-energy further? Perhaps there is a movement of energy into another or something else. As discussed in Thích Nhất Hạnh's text on the Heart Sutra*, surely, as the physical body decomposes naturally, we see that transformation to other life. But what about the energy?  I like to think that it goes into our children, grandchildren, our friends, co-workers, the work we created, the love we shared, etc. as love and memories. Our love and influences on others continue forward as part of our own energetic reincarnation or partial resurrection. It is up to each of us to decide how much of ourselves goes forward beyond the body. It is up to us to love.

Namaste and Happy Easter


*The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on the Prajñaparamita Heart Sutra by Thich Nhat Hanh


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