Out of the Ashes

It was this generational thing……on Easter. The unstated things. In the story. An earthquake? An eclipse? Recording it all. Passover.

Now what? After Passover was over. After the ritual, after the commemoration of the meaning of Passover. In the Seder dinner of the day. Along with instruction how to eat the lamb; in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it. The command to “eat like those who are in flight.”

Passover that was all about identity, of a Chosen People. A Chosen People, who had left an identity of slavery behind and survived. With a new identity. In a confused world.

Peter. This fisherman. Who had until this point never had left his identity behind, but after 3 years of following, now what? With a wife, however they had survived so far. Now what, after that crucifixion that had ended the week? The fears of the times, never well conveyed by those history teachers. What was it like to face the end? Of someone you had staked your whole existence on? When everything seemed lost. When your own identity was challenged.

The Gospel of John, which was not written by the John the Apostle, but this John the beloved, another fisherman …now what for him? After they all had assembled for the commemoration of the meaning of Passover…now what, after that crucifixion?

In a confused world. All of these humans trying to make sense of it all, in a confused world. In a confused world, trying to grieve. Together, at the time of commemoration of the meaning of Passover. Living and eating “like those who are in flight.”

“You are one of them!” All of the participants, with their identity crisis — a crisis that never would end. These theological Jews, in search of an understanding, all eleven of them married. When you lost everything, suddenly. It was so much like Kristallnacht, for Peter. It was like the sudden Great Crash that led to the Great Depression.

In search of an understanding. All of the Passover stories over the past 3 years. All of the time Jesus had been challenging the identity of the people. Individually. Communally. If you had ever assembled the stories of what had happened on the three final Passovers in the life of Jesus. One year in the temple, overturning tables.

In search of an understanding. Over all that had been witnessed in 3 years. Maybe about some kind of plan to begin again. Now what, Peter? After Passover, which was the paramount generational thing. Passover was not just a family thing. It was THE family thing. Generation after generation.

Passover. The unstated thing of Passover. And moving the rock. Generational things……on Easter. Not so much unlike Passover, this brunch today. That Seder. With a few generational thing……on Easter. This Easter, my brother-in-law prepared a Easter brunch on the day. With others. It had become in his adult life ritual. What was missing this year was an Easter bread from his mother. It was noticeably absent as she had suffered health challenges over the last 12 months. Post breakfast, I had spent about 30 minutes reviewing a new book, recently published, that my brother-in-law had given to my sister. The book had made mention of my father’s role in the history of an organization that helped to give an identity, to this region. I am not so sure that the main author had an understanding to be writing the book. And I was now at the point in life where my father’s health changed, which can have a major effect, a sudden effect, on a point of view of things.

Now what, Peter? In a confused world, the sudden effect. Looking for meaning in it all. A lot like on the original Passover. With all of the dead. All of the first born. And then this issue of inheritance. The unstated thing of Passover. The generational things……on Easter. Would these 11 people come back? Any of the disciples? What difference does a teacher make? Or a rabbi? Or a journalist for that matter? What difference did a blog writer make? What difference did knowing the truth mean? In my life? What meaning was there to this life, if the Truth was never known? So what? It was the same question that a rabbi or a priest asked each weekend; or a parent. Would these people, the young, your loved ones, come back? To what always had looked to be the Truth.

So there was Peter. And his friends. “Next year in Jerusalem.” Left wondering this morning. About their God. About their own Jewish traditions, of burial, of belief. About what looked to be the Truth. And now Mary Magdalene, with her story. Whether Jesus would come back again, after Mary reported seeing him. It was a much better story, with a lot more suspense than the people in church yesterday ever appreciated. The fear freezing into something visible, like the chilling process of water into ice cubes. Peter forced to begin his thinking and writing. With the others. After three years of public ministry, what difference had the Messiah made in personal identity. Or in the context of these chilling times.

The confusion of so many people, over personal identity. In the context of these times, to have your own identity marked in some way. If you believed in the Son of God. The challenge of Easter was always about identity. And that challenge included the doubt. A lot like Peter’s on the original Easter Sunday, during the seven days of Passover. The challenge in passing on a way of life, when you had lost everything. Or when you seemed to have suddenly lost everything. Passover as the ultimate profession of love, not so much as protection from the plagues, but about the solemnity of worship.

What difference had the Messiah made in personal identity? After the ritual, after Mass? In the context of these times. What was the communal identity of a Christian, in 2010? After 40 days of Lent? After Easter Mass?

Now what? In the context of these times, after the ritual…..after Mass? With what appears these days, if I might say, to be a very confused pope and his college of cardinals. The 400 or so who thought their troubles triumphed the story of Easter, this year. Or Peter’s troubles. And in the shame that he woke up with on Easter morn.

Passover. Easter. To move populations. This generational thing. The next generation. The Easter bread. These meals which were a quiet kind of love story. God who in a sense had destroyed Himself, in a world with so much self-destruction. And then this time through the Messiah, God reveals what this identity of the Messiah meant, could mean, in the real world. Really again overturning tables. It was all about identity. And the “now what” question. For the next generation.

Individually. Communally. Now what? That generational thing called identity. That point of view of where I fit in, in this confused world. In a world that challenged a communal identity of a Christian, not so unlike Peter and the other followers had been challenged over their own identity as Jews. What was the meaning in why Moses and his followers had been redeemed? What was the meaning in this generational thing called identity. As a Catholic generation today as well as the 42,999 other branches of Christianity tried to come to grips, like Peter, about what of this identity to leave behind.

Copyright © 2010.


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1 comment so far

  1. paperlessworld on

    Passover. Did you ever note the interruption of Passover, for the main character? Or the The Great Unsettling. This interruption of prayer on the holiest of days. In the Last Supper, missing are the young people. So few notice how the Twelve Apostles as well as Jesus – the Spiritual Director – were interrupted by the secular world! Over matter of power, of Church and State. Did you know that this ritual of Passover is still in the family home, not in the Temple. Today!

    The Seder Dinner. Marketing. The missing. The Mass Market. So much like campaign 2016, there are leaders of people who belong who did not ever think about not belonging. In the current puzzle of Triumph. The people who do not know about the emotion in a history. The people who do not connect, to the alienated. Or try to. In stories of refugees and another Great Unsettling, there are the missing puzzle solvers when it comes to the Unsettling God!

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