This morning’s post Companions on the Journey, comes from Stan Thornburg, Quaker pastor at a small in the Willamette Valley of western Oregon. He really loves ideas is spiritually and intellectually hungry at all times. He finds his grounding in contemplative spiritual practices and in trusting the community. He blogs at Born to Eat Toast He has been a tremendous help to us in MSA walking us through the Quaker discernment process that has become such an important part of the way we conduct business.
We’re heading to Jerusalem. We do it every year. You’d think we would learn. We know what awaits us, i.e. betrayal and crucifixion, death and darkness, suffering of all kinds. Even so, we choose this journey with joy and passion, with deep gratitude and awe, with a profound sense of mystery that surpasses our ability to understand, and an awareness of that great sacrifice – that firestorm of unimaginable love – that works our redemption and brings us face to face with the terrible holiness of the divine.
Easter mornings we rush to the grave and again and again stare in wonder at the empty tomb. We stand, mouths agape at this feat of supernatural strength, fueled by unconditional love, accomplishing what all the sacrifices, piety, prayers, and incense could not even broach. Our heads want to burst as we try to piece it together into some coherent message. Our hearts in turn want to burst as we try to entertain even the smallest notion of the love we have just encountered. We stand helpless before it, we are unwitting victims of it, we can neither direct it nor control it though we try every theological parlor trick available to do so. Exhausted, we finally just let it go and allow it to be what it is…”For God so loved THE WORLD…”
“Oh God!” “Thank you for this awful and wonderful self-revelation.”
We are not alone on this journey. We are accompanied by hundreds of thousands of believers from every corner of the globe. We are not just sojourners we are brothers and sisters joined in solidarity for this great celebration. There is no distinction. There is no room for labels, for doctrinal snobbery, for claims of exclusivity. There is only room for gratitude for one another and joy at being part of such a great throng. We are marching to the Holy Mountain where God resides and Christ reigns. Our hearts long for justice, for peace, for healing, for a glimpse of
God’s unconditional love lived out among us.
Is this the vision of which Isaiah wrote?
“In the last days
the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.
Many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
Everyone is invited on this journey! It belongs to no one faith or sect. We will weather the betrayal, suffering, and sacrifice together. Come, join the throngs across our globe on this wonderful, terrible, trek. We will stand stunned into silence before the tomb. We will go crazy with celebration when death’s door makes way for resurrection power.
We will be forever changed.