Friday, April 3, 2015

Walk with the Suffering Station 15: Hope

Our Dean the Very Rev Penny Bridges offered one of the meditations on the 24th Annual Walk with the Suffering, a down-town Stations of the Cross.  Chris Harris shares his photos to accompany Penny's reflection.

We have come to the final station in our journey, and we are back at the Rescue Mission. Back where we started. estamos de nuevo donde empezamos. Back where Jesus was condemned, where he began his final journey, dismissed, disregarded, despised and rejected. But like any journey, even when we return home, we return changed. Ahora hemos sido transformados. We have walked the way of the Cross. We have entered into the shame and pain of the God-man who was unjustly condemned, tortured, and executed. We have prayed with and for those who are dismissed, disregarded, despised and rejected every day in our own city. We have been changed by our participation. Hemos sido transformados.

Today we have prayed for our city. Hoy hemos orado para nuestra ciudad. This is how prayer works. We may imagine that we pray to change God's mind - to change the behavior of those we condemn, or to change the physical reality of the world. But in fact, our prayer changes us. When we align ourselves with the downtrodden, the abused, the abandoned, we are aligning ourselves with Christ. He looks down from the cross in grief on a world where schoolchildren and college students are massacred, where families risk death to cross borders, where governments seek to destroy their own people. His heart breaks for the world. And when we enter into prayer, when we get a glimpse of the world from the vantage point of the Cross, our hearts are broken open too, and the love of God pours in. While we have returned to the starting point, we are not at the place where we began. We have traveled a spiral, the winding and beautiful shape of the spiritual life. Prayer takes us to a new place. La oracion nos lleva a un nuevo lugar.

At the end of the Good Friday story, Jesus dies and is laid in a tomb in a garden. Not in a desert but in a garden. Gardens are places where life begins and flourishes. A garden is a place, above all, of hope. As an unskilled gardener myself, I depend on hope to overcome my repeated experience of failure. Today we hope. Esperamos. We hope for the renewal of life. We know that this isn't the end of the story. We know that Easter lies ahead, that the tomb will be empty and that love will win the day. Esperamos.

We hope, and we wait, because Good Friday is not the end, it is the beginning. El Viernes Santo no es el fin, pero es el principio. Death, even unjust, unnecessary death, is never the end of the story, but only a gateway to a more abundant life. Love wins the day. The love that brought us here today to pray in community will bring us to new life, new hope, new joy. We wait, because we know Easter is coming. Esperamos, porque sabemos que la Pascua viene.

We wait and we hope. Esperamos. We pray for our city and for our world. Oramos para nuestra ciudad. Our hearts are broken today, but joy lies just ahead. La alegria viene pronto. And we have been changed, hemos sido transformados, by this journey. Thanks be to God. Demos gracias a Dios.

Let us pray.

God of life and hope, we give you thanks for this time of prayer and solidarity. We pray for all those who serve others and for those in need who are served. We pray for those who are overlooked, or rejected, or disrespected. We pray for victims of terrorism, war, famine and drought. We pray that our hearts will be changed and that you will guide us all to work for your Kingdom to be established on earth as it is in heaven. Give us patience and hope, courage and imagination as we seek to be your agents of reconciliation in the world. We ask this in your holy name. Amen.

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