Thursday, August 2, 2012

Daily Office Reflection: A Pause, Not an End

SW, DC, 2010
Psalms: (70), 71 * 74; Judges 4:4-23; Acts 1:15-26; Matthew 27:55-66

A rich and diverse set of characters in Matthew's Gospel today: multiple Marys (Magdalene and James and John's mother and James and Joseph's mother), Joseph of Arimathea, Pilate, chief priests and Pharisees, a guard of soldiers. All of them, in different ways involved in, impacted by, the life that just ended on the Cross. 

A sad and confusing day for the Mary's and Joseph of Arimathea. A day of seeming success for the priests and Pharisees. A day like many others for Pilate, filled with bureaucratic work. A different sort of day for the soldiers sent to seal a tomb. But all revolving around this now dead person: the end game all of them thought. Different views, different lenses through which to see and experience these hours after Jesus' death on that Cross.

Initially, having a "Good Friday" moment in the middle of the summer seems odd and inappropriate. Yet, Holy Week is so rich and full and complex, revisiting it during the year is a good way to reflect upon different aspects of the Passion narrative that can get pushed aside because of the rush and pressure of that week. These different characters in our story today demand our contemplation. Each of them, with their own distinct viewpoint and experience and motivations, can draw us deeper into an understanding of what God was doing through the ministry and life and mortal death of Jesus. 

When have we been one of the Marys? Or Joseph? Or Pilate? Or the chief priests and Pharisees? Or the soldiers? When have we been involved in something that we thought was over and proved to be just the opposite: a new beginning? Are we able to, in that pause between stages/development, grow into the new life that comes from new beginnings? These are all reflections worth our time to consider.

Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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