I want the Bull Market back, I want to get my hair cut, I really want my job the way it was before March 16, I want the sign of peace back, I want things back to normal. Ah normal. I guess I was lulled into complacency forgetting that ours is a precarious world, with unknown illnesses, with natural forces beyond our human fragility, with tornadoes and earthquakes and tsunamis and heat and humidity. But isn’t it funny we live in this “real” if not normal world as though we own it. We craft our society and culture to function rationally and predictably, we tame our worst inclinations with our best selves, we create systems (e.g. economic systems) that work if imperfectly and not always equal or just, but systems that work for most of us most of the time. So we tend to think we are good getting better until we are not, that life is predictable and controllable until it isn’t. It is then that the crisis, the trauma, the illness, the chaos reveals our very real fragility and our character. It is then we are called to get real and to shed our illusions, to get real and find what is true strength, what holds the center, what endures.
And so on to Holy Week, God’s love for us is real, it is the “merciful, the incomprehensible, inexhaustible, inexplicable yes” to quote Brian Doyle; that yes which brought us into existence, holds us alive as we live and leads us to fullness when our “growing” days are full. But what of evil you say? Of darkness, yes evil is present “in what we have done and what we have failed to do” and yes every child born one day dies, and yes we come apart sometimes, our loves, our jobs, our retirement plans, right now even our wedding plans and so we are tempted to believe that we are fools if we don’t become hardened cynics. But cynicism, that so-called courage, ignores this question: Which truth, which yes defines us?
Do you believe in marriage? In happy marriages? Loving marriages? Do you believe in family and children and life and possibility? I do, and not because I’m an optimist, rather because I know that life is opportunity that can only be embraced if we understand that it is always about grace under pressure. That life embraced for its goodness best reveals true holiness in us if we are grounded in the source of grace, God’s goodness.
So, in these scary and maddening days, choose to believe, believe in the bravest and best, believe as foolish and perilous as it may seem. You might just then discover hope, you just might then begin to know Easter faith, he is risen, not defeated by a chosen death for love, for honor, for integrity; rather risen to light up the world and to say to death “where is your sting, O death where is your victory?” Risen to say: believe and come to this freedom I have conquered sin and death. Believe in me and live.