Palm/Passion Sunday

Posted on Apr 16, 2019


It was some time ago that I spent time with a dying man.
He was heavily drugged to kill the pain but when he was lucid he told me stories about his life.
He was the only and oldest son of six children. He had moved away from home, all the way across the country, while his sisters were quite young. And even though he came home for weddings and anniversaries, and a week each summer, he never really knew his sisters, they were strangers to each other.
When he had gotten ill this last time his sisters had been called and told he was dying. They all came to him, and since he had no other relatives or friends nearby, they stayed to take care of him. They changed his bed pan,  wiped him after every mouthful because he often choked and spit up his food. They wiped his nose, his eyes when he cried, and changed his sheets when he soiled them.
As the man talked he said: “They are so good to me, they do for me what I never did for them, what I never could do for them, they are strangers to me and yet they act as if they love me. Father, is this what God is like?”
The obvious answer was yes, but the more truthful answer was,  “I don’t know, I hope so.”
So much of my imagining about God is based on hope, rather than certainty. I hope God is more forgiving than I have ever been; I hope God understands me better than I understand myself; I hope God loves simply, honestly, and deeply, as I don’t think I have ever been able to do. I stumble along with my hopes, my imaginings of God,  and maybe that is what you do too?
And maybe that is why we come here year after year,to listen to the same story,to watch the same man suffer and die,to grope our way toward God,because Jesus is our best hope for meeting God,even if he tells us that the only way to do it, is to die.
That scares me.But I come back each year,and so do you.There must be some truth, some certainty here,which my heart and yours has not yet grasped.