The Who

Signs of endings.

The markets. I am absorbed by the markets. At this point in time. Based upon the state of the world. When everything seemed liable to crash in the time of a megabyte.

In Russia. It all looked as if one hundred years ago that it was all over in a revolution. The 1905 revolution seemed a lot more real at this point of history, than it did reading the account when I was in college. And then the revolution in 1917. The fears of those times were never well conveyed by those history teachers.

In Spain in a civil war. I heard this Federico Garcia Lorca presentation Wednesday night, with an ending when I was required to get the flowers to give to the Master of Ceremony to present at the conclusion of the show. I barely made it with the flowers for the performers. The performers who were reciting compositions in fearful times.

Endings. Oprah. When Comcast wants NBC Universal. Time Warner. Disney. Viacom. News Corp. Those who control people’s lives, as measured by minutes. How did you spend your time? All powered by cable networks. What is the meaning of the hegemony? In this hegemony with all the change. Where the world was headed, without Oprah. The changing paradigm. When people thought they were supreme.

Endings. In the Amanda Knox trial in Europe now in its ninth month, there was on Friday the seven hour closing argument by the prosecution. Amanda Knox, the American roommate “hated” her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, a Leeds University student who came to Perugia to pursue her European Studies degree to learn Italian. A jury of six lay people and two professional judges was told, Ms. Knox “hated” Ms. Kercher for complaining about her personal hygiene, and for suggesting that she was promiscuous in her habit of bringing men back to their shared house. And so, the prosecutor said, Ms. Knox murdered her in “an unstoppable crescendo of violence.” Today lead prosecutor Giuliano Mignini read the Latin phrase from ancient Roman jurist Eneo Domizio Ulpiano, about justice. “Iustitia est constans et perpetua voluntas ius suum cuique tribuendi. Iuris praecepta sunt haec.” Justice is the constant and perpetual will to render to every man his due.

The end of the year. What were you thankful for? What had you seen? Where had your eyes taken you? Who had you touched? This year? Where had I found the truth? With the signs of endings. The times that you shared. Who you had met. At this point in time. Who you worked for. What you did. Jobs. Life. Who you had married. The things which were shared. The community ties.

The end of life. It was the Feast of Christ the King today. And just as only Mary really knew who was responsible for his birth, only Jesus and Mary seemed to know on that Friday who was responsible for his death. Who could believe him? The divine? So God was gonna learn through a new point of view a bit more about pain. Almost silently God had visited. And it was over. The divine. In human form. Who could believe in His silent presence? The humanness of Jesus. On the same earth that I walked on. Almost silently to the world. As quiet as a faith.

The Gospel reading is with Pontius Pilate at the end of life — not about the Final Judgment — where the world judged Jesus of Nazareth . . . under ancient Roman law. “Iustitia est constans et perpetua voluntas ius suum cuique tribuendi. Iuris praecepta sunt haec.” Bloodlines and DNA. Church and state and power. When Judaism is a comprehensive way of life filled with practices that affect every aspect of life, from morning til night, so very personally. When Judaism was based on bloodlines, on sacrifice, on suffering, and not based on evangelical door to door knocking. And there, Pilate with the law. In the clash of power of church and state, did history doubt that Pontius Pilate, representing the power of the Roman Empire, was real? When Pilate said to Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

On issues of accommodation, right or wrong. To judge right and wrong, to address good and evil, in the Truth about God and Creation. The problem with Truth, any truth, is in the ease about Truth. Is it too easy to state what exactly the truth is, and then the laws about the Truth? So what is it if anything which makes the Law True?

Bloodlines. Concerning that blood in the Jewish tradition, as in royal lines. Judaism which was then and now all about awareness that affects every aspect of life, from morning til night. And bloodlines. With perhaps a human concern about the purity in bloodlines. And so the awareness in relationships of the human, with the recognition of the divine. It was not just so much a religion as a recognition of, an awareness, about God, man, woman, and the universe FROM STORIES, but about everything. More about action than words. A religion about bindings, concerning that blood and the pain. And the proper way to worship.

Yes, the hardest stories of them all to write were those without an end. With the hundreds of little pieces that fit into the same spiritual holes, do you believe in ghosts? Note the shared sacrifice of those who carried a culture – educators, doctors, jurists which came out of one PLACE in a shared TIME – and the shared sacrifice of the ones who got so close in the intimate matters of family life.
In the romance between God and His people, did you feel the pain of trying to work on becoming more worthy? In being moved to sacrifice? Somehow. Like all religion, it was about the nod that came out of sacrifice. In kinship to the God who cannot die. In sacrifice. And passing on that kinship, just as Abraham had.

Here was the awareness of the conflict in the story with a need for endings. God’s awareness of the conflict and the need for story, since the time of Abraham. When Abraham challenged the meaning of his life, in the Akedah story, challenging God for all that He had given to him. And slowly all of his blessings had been taken away. In old age. In death. With no mention of a Resurrection to Abraham. What was next to come. Except that Sarah and Abraham had a son. Was Abraham really asking God in the Akedah , if he really had been chosen, about the future? His own future? By asking him to sacrifice his son, what about Abraham’s own future? Abraham with all of his awareness, at his end with a loss of vitality, with the suffering in old age, was the actual mystery in the harsh godless profane pagan world? Why did I have all this? And why was I losing it? It was the “Why me?” question. Had Abraham in the first place ever been worthy? Worthy of life? So why did I have all this … and what now?

With the sign of ending, “So are you the King of the Jews?” Reflecting on the meaning. Those descendants of Abraham. Reflecting on the meaning of making some kind of an offering to God. Like Abraham tried to make. When your relationships, based so much in sacrifice, with God and his Chosen People, with your parents or with your kids, with a kinship that involved not only blood but love. Seeing the pain and the suffering. Every year, the human suffering? And God somehow feeling so unworthy? As God was the artist in the time of Noah, wanting to destroy his own creation. Not at all unlike Abraham? What He had seen reflected in Abraham and all that time spent in his struggle. Trying to pass on a tradition. Beyond just the DNA. Like watching television from above. On High. Of the struggle. On earth. What now? In the real world?

When Pilate said to Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” With all of the Jewish guilt about being chosen? And then the suffering generation after generation, with stories of annihilation. A Chosen People, in kinship to the God who cannot die. A royal line. Passing on a way of life. In kingship, the Christ, the King. And in royal lines, finally deciding on the who. When the divine learned what it really meant to be human. And when humanity really learns what it means to have divine life.

The Christ, the King, and the end, at the end of a year. The divine. Always and everywhere. The signs of endings? The Resurrection and what it did ultimately mean for God to become human? This was his attempt to pass on tradition? Through a human. The Messiah. What had Abraham been trying to do? The fears of the times, never well conveyed by those history teachers. What was it like to face the end? Your own ending, with all of the associated suffering? Passing on ‘everlasting life.’ How to pass on another form of life, in sacrifice, in a form of human worship? Resurrection, as a form of inheritance. It was how a human had redeemed humanity. It was a struggle.

Almost silently, God had visited. Passing on a way of life. ‘Everlasting life.’ To those made in the image and likeness of God. Me. You. Amidst all of life’s pain, amidst all of the change, it was the end of another church year. What Larry Gillick calls “God’s continuation syndrome.” Where God is “always beginning over and over again to share over and over divine love” with you and me. And so another church year ends. Facing once more, Larry Gillick writes, the call of God “to allow ourselves to be loved, and still do something about this world.

The love lesson. Those feeling of always being unworthy. God in His incredible subtleness, day in and day out. Until you eventually figured some things out. About the Christ, the king. About me. A lesson about Thanksgiving. The incredible subtleness of the Creator that love is available if you believed in the stories of, in the lessons passed in family — of some form of family — that love, with awareness of the sacrifice which affects every aspect of life, from morning til night, was about Resurrection and forgiveness. And ‘everlasting life.’ And for me, in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, who learned of the incredible subtleness of God and with a divine form of humility had been willing to make the greatest of all sacrifice. And for Christendom who remain, the goal is to “live His ways of reverence, generous availability and non-apologetic graciousness.”

Copyright © 2010.

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