I am struggling in this season of Lent. Struggling with the hate in the name of religion. Struggling with judgment above grace. Struggling with the battle lines of “My way or the highway” rigidity. This right and that right and they shouldn’t have rights and they need to do it this way and they need to believe that way. I can sit in the pew and I can sense the deep love shared all around us and then in the aftermath of the holy bath of peace often found when two or more are gathered beneath the pealing sound of the cracked bell, the divisions between us rises up like a poisonous mist. We shut out the spirit of grace that came like a warm blanket upon our brokenness. The same grace that carried a cross upon the hill and was hung there, naked for all the world to see. Mocking the holy of holy, the Christ. That one act changed all of creation for all time. We mock it every time we fight and squabble, with our inability to be his heart for one another. To place judgement above love and hate above mercy.
I am not perfect. I am as flawed as the next guy, struggling with my humanity in the midst of the holy gift of which I partake. That gift is his mercy, when I am wrong about him. That gift is grace when I am unlovable. I am imagining that the tears are flowing and mixed with sweat and drops of blood as he looks at me. I am imagining that he sweeps me into a corner of his heart as he cries out. It is the silence of the death that will stun me. He in his perfection not calling out my sins.
I hear the bitter cries of the cold harsh religious judgments and know that they have lost sight. They have taken their eyes off of him and they have become blinded by their own hatred. They are mocking his act of love and surrender. They are believing the lies of you must be this way or do that thing, or don’t do that. The voices grow loudly and the lines are drawn and the shades are pulled down and the heart is cloaked and love is forgotten. The love of the Saviour releasing the chokehold upon all of man. Have we forgotten that we belong to one another? When we fight and bleed and draw lines and build walls and pass sentence, where is his love through us? Who have we become when we lose love for one another?