I freaked out the other night. Didn’t dare go to sleep. Too scared to go to sleep. Yet sometime in the early hours I must have dropped-off.
I have seen a few blogs leading up to this-almost-Easter remark how the bible tells us that Jesus sweated drops of blood. I have no idea how you sweat drops of blood. Never have and hope I never will. Never wanted to emulate that element of God Soft Hands Jesus .
But I get the imagery. That he was freaked out. Scared. Terrified beyond scared.
In these times where death stalks silently … without regard for power or privilege – irrelevant to age or health – with and without apparent logic … I get the reality of facing death. A painful death. A death where saving my life might be judged less than saving another. A death where I will be alone of family and friends. Will be buried without fanfare or closure. May even become a statistic. Probably a painful blot more than “normal” on the lives of those I love.
This Easter we each face death no matter how complacent of our own immortality. A death unlike the story books. No concerned family around the bed. No quiet conversations of comfort. No tender looks and gentle touch. No dignity. Nothing of how we imagine our final breath and words to be. If you have read the accounts of death by Covid19 they are not a death I would wish on anyone.
The cross I was taught was fact.
Now I care not whether fact or fiction – real or imagery. This Easter I begin to understand a little better. Better than from the comfort of a polished pew in a heated sanctuary surrounded by like-minded (and healthy) congregants. Each of us with a shiny silver nail as a prompt to enter the rose-tinted sentiment-imagination of death by cross. A death that was also a “respiratory illness”. Of lungs that collapsed as breathing became something he used to do.
We are well into the annual debt-fest of Easter.
But this Easter I feel no noble sacrifice. I sense no honour or dignity. I have no gratitude or debt. This Easter I look up and see me and see you. All of us caught up in something we wish we were not. All part of a journey beyond our control. This Easter I see a man not God. This Easter I see friend not distant deity.
This Easter I care not if it’s a master-plan of foretold prophecy … no interest in debate of a PLAN A or PLAN B … no annual pining to feel even a little of what “our Lord” suffered “for me”. This year I wonder whether any of that really matters – whether so much of this “rose-tinted and sentimental” bible teaching really matters. This Easter I crave not the immortality of eternity in some imagined “heaven”. I pray not for the “second-coming” to save me from all of this. Right now I see no “sin-filled world” wallowing in its own depravity – about to get the come-uppance “they” deserve (and which I as a good Christian will escape).
This Easter I pray for one more day – lots of “one more” days – right here with those I love in this world that is precious and resilient – a world so beautiful and forgiving of our thoughtlessness. Right now I want to be with those I love rather than in separate homes. I want to hug the lady I love rather than have to keep half a house distant. I pine for the touch of skin on mine: a handshake – a hug – a cuddle – a rough-house … For the breath of a grandchild on my face – even the snot of a toddler to wipe clean – and oddly a nappy to change – I imagine not really caring if that mug of tea was mine or yours.
Sweating drops of blood.
Mine? Freaking out and not daring to go to sleep for a few hours. And yet …
Perhaps this Easter my connection is closer than ever. Perhaps this Easter I need no shiny nail – no like-minded congregants to surround me. Perhaps this Easter I “get” a little better what the bible invites me to get.
This world is beautiful. This world is home. This world is precious. This world has everything I desire.
This world is a world I wouldn’t choose to exit. This world – and this virus – cares not what I believe nor which religion I claim nor the future I teach nor those I label as good or bad.
This virus is teaching me – maybe all of us – just how much we are ALL connected whether we choose to or not. How we are ALL the same no matter how much we protest we are not. How Love really IS the greatest of these – and just how living in the moment of a touch or a breath or a glance CAN BE the eternity of “heaven” I never usually notice. This Easter I feel closer to my immediate AND global family than ever.
And isn’t THAT the real message of Easter?