No! Don't run away! I know the very last thing you want today is a dreadful explanation of the tortures of Christ's sacrifice, another defense of the toxic Christian culture demonstrated in many parts of our community today. A culture focused on personal material wealth, exclusion of many, constant judgment, refusal to follow even basic beliefs so clearly explained in New Testament Christianity.
We are embarrassed reminding everyone that Christians are "not all like that!" Let's not do that and instead let's focus on the Christian spiritual component. It is a direction essentially unique in world religions because instead of a doomed broken humanity pleading up for protection for power to come to us from a judgmental wrathful God we have a just and perfect loving God reaching down to humanity with an open hand, telling us this Jesus Christ is the way back to reconciliation.
When Jesus entered the city, he was a highly trained educated man clear on his role. He knew he was foretold to make a difference. From his seat, he scanned the parade crowds seeing pickpockets, salesclerks and bakers trying to improve sales by placing palm designs on everything. He noticed the most lowly believers, women and children looking on them with approval. He knew well that the shouting, singing, praising crowd touching him gently with palm fronds would shortly deteriorate into a vicious mob pelting him with rocks hitting him with clubs calling for his brutal execution. He knew but he continued with his mission.
We can understand his disappointment in the imminent betrayal from his colleague Judas and the constant yammering of his beloved Peter — demanding the conquering messiah to steal back the respect Peter felt he had been denied under Roman law. Peter was not yet interested in the role of servant leadership. He just wanted to win! Sound familiar?
Over a brief period of time, our country has been riddled with disease and almost destroyed through jealous toxic politics. We were shocked by greedy brothers and sisters grabbing up and hoarding basic supplies like toilet paper. We were revolted by people refusing to wear a simple 6-inch strip of cloth across their face while they demanded complete certainty that such a small accommodation would actually improve survival rates of others. So we turn not to focus on weak humans lost in grasping for any bit of false superiority over others and look to the model Jesus left us. He was superior. He was all powerful. But even though he was also "a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief." he declined to permit disappointment in humanity to overwhelm him.
The message in his demonstration is simple and plain. When the solution to being separated from God occurred — the miracle of reconciliation — happened we were surprised. We knew our darkness, how unlovely we were. So did God. Our loving God reached down to announce this miracle to the most humble the women who would be ignored mocked not believed once again. By using woman's community connections, woman's ability to share collaborate and build the message of the miracle spread. Jesus returned to create a path to our perfect loving and just God. Jesus decided to forgive his tormentors to demonstrate loving actions with his power. This is where our community finds itself now.
We need to collaborate, to communicate, to rebuild and reconnect. If others have fallen into darkness, lost to despair or twisting lies of the rabbit hole of Internet conspiracy theories, we understand pray for them to find wisdom. For others, we reach out help — make the goodness happen following the path of our beloved Jesus. We refuse to allow our scalding disappointment in the behavior and the beliefs of others to stop us.
We know we can build back stronger, smarter, better. We can reflect back on our shared American history, seeing reconciliation and connection is our greatest power. Wisely our government is finally stepping up creating and managing resources to make significant recovery possible.
We forgive. We empower each other. We also know how to set boundaries to protect our hearts. We practice strong effort, positive energy and planned intentions; we choose resilience over defeat. We have our inspiration and our role model. Eyes up. Forward!
As a lifelong Christian committed educator and community volunteer, Cherylanne Farley said she sees our home, warts and all. She still believes.