Last week, I concluded Part 3 of this series, “Be Prepared , Or Not?” with these short paragraphs:
But, it is on that road of suffering and death, which looks and feels just like defeat, that Jesus prepares us for all the “What is next?” events of our lives. (Sorry, I don’t know of any other way to become prepared. I don’t think there is any way to learn that death is not terminal except to die.) On that road we learn that life always triumphs over death, that fear ends but Just Love is eternal.
This has always been the reality of our lives; and the reality of everything, including the whole vast universe. However, today, knowing this reality and knowing how to pass beyond grief to hope, is a lesson that no one can afford to delay for even a nano-second. Why?
Why? Because stuff is happening in our world, and to our lives, that has never happened before; stuff that prefigures more change, loss, grief and death than most of us have even begun to imagine; stuff like millions more people becoming climate refugees.
There are unfolding happenings in our world; damage that has happened (fiery California), is happening now (pandemic), and will happen in the future (population die off from famine), that you cannot possibly prepare for if you are deathly afraid of death. We must build spiritual resilience and learn to grieve.
Back to the Bible, please. Back to Jesus and the disciples, back to Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Not even the passionate, prophetic, powerful, persuasive, painful and precise pronouncements of Jesus could penetrate their delusions, their denial, their damming determination to hold on to Jesus, and their own lives. Only a phenomenally different world—like a world featuring, “Jesus Alive Again!” could change their fate. Experience of Crucifixion and Resurrection made them entirely willing and able to learn “…that life triumphs over death, that fear ends but Just Love is eternal.”
No one, as I said above, “No one can afford to delay for even a nano-second.” Learning this lesson today.
It is “common knowledge,” for example, that no one, no nation, no hospital, no individual was prepared for the current health crisis. But, what is “common” is also false. Many were prepared fully, in the most important ways, because they knew two things:
- They knew that life triumphs over death.
- They knew that catastrophic events, including massive suffering on a planetary scale, are coming our way. Having exited denial, they were in touch with Reality. They were already building spiritual resilience and sustainable communities.
They were as ready as it is possible to be. They had hope grounded in Reality and not in circumstance and they were already experienced practitioners of Just Love.
These days I know something of what Jesus must have felt as He tried, time and time again, to ready his followers for what must come to pass in Jerusalem. Words are often useless in changing someone else’s mind. Sometimes they must be spoken anyway; but then love requires that I back off and let time reveal what it will.
Thus it has been in this presidential election season. Word, and even evidence, have no power to convince anyone of anything that is contrary to their decided view of reality. Love often requires backing off. Love often requires silence. Time and circumstance will reveal what they will.
Trouble is headed our way. Like the disciples of Jesus, we are among the unconvincable.
Likewise, we are among the unprepared.
The end. Or, the beginning…?