"As Holy Week continues I ask for the grace to pray and meditate on behalf of my community of faith. May we learn patience, tolerance, compassion and empathy. May we abstain from anger, anxiety, compulsive behaviour, discouragement, arrogance, and self-centeredness. May we know and follow Jesus more closely: seeking justice, loving kindness and walking humbly."
27 Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, 28and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. 29For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well— 30since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
1) "...Only, live you life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ;" "...one spirit;" "...striving side by side;" "...one mind for the faith of the gospel;" "...the privilege... of believing in Christ... suffering for him;" "...struggle;" "...worthy of the gospel;" "...striving;" "...no way intimidated;" "...graciously granted;" "...believing... suffering... struggle;" "...worthy of the gospel;" "...
2) It is a graciously granted privilege, not only to believe in Christ, but to suffer for him. It seems to me that to be aware of what is going on in the world today is to suffer for Christ. Terrorist attacks throughout Europe, the US dropping bombs on Syria, gay men going missing in Chechnya and reports of concentration camps set up to detain them. Aboriginal people all over North America being denied the right to determine how their land is used. Corporations given the freedom to poison water and land that should be nourishing the population. "War" is the wrong term to describe the sense of turmoil experienced in the world right now. Wars are fought between nations, Civil wars within nations, but what we are experiencing in the world today is different. This is a new kind of horror and atrocity on a new kind of scale. I find myself wondering if my great-grandparents heard stories of libraries being burned, gay intellectuals, artists and journalists disappearing, families fleeing their homelands seeking refuge?
3) What is the invitation in all this? To hear and to bear witness and to denounce. To not let myself grow numb, but neither to let myself despair. Because I do not have to return hate for hate or violence for violence. Every time I elicit compassion instead of retribution, I participate in the resurrection. I can still live a life in a manner worthy of the gospel, by continuing to be aware and empathetic.
"Holy One, lead on, and bring us to an Easter that is real, and not just a numb denial of the atrocity in which we are complicit."
Breathprayer: "Live... worthy of the gospel."