Sunday, March 31, 2013
I have served as a Eucharistic Minister at Maundy Thursday, read the Passion Gospel at Good Friday, read the story of Israel's Deliverance through the Red Sea at the Easter Vigil Saturday night, and this morning, I was baptized into the role of Verger at our 11:15 service which had an overflow crowd. Note: Easter services bring out all the people who don't normally attend; hence, directing traffic at the rail becomes a little more of an exercise. I survived, and that's all I'm saying.
All of this while thinking about my mom, the Anonymous Peggins, who is spending her Easter in the hospital, recovering from a stroke that has, literally, left her speechless. I am carrying with me a couple of the Holy Week services from St. John's, so she can hear some beautiful music, and hear the story of who we are as people who see God through Christ.
My brother knew that all was not right with my mom when she wasn't sitting at the kitchen table doing the morning daily office Wednesday morning. That was his cue to go look for her in her bedroom. And that's when he saw all was not well, and called 9-1-1.
I'm so pleased that she is doing this practice, Morning Prayer, a pattern she learned from me and my journey. She likes to read the Scripture, and will sometimes ask me questions about it. Usually the questions are, "Why is the Old Testament so violent? Why is the Old Testament God so mean?"
These questions are not dissimilar to what others much younger than my mom have asked. And I often give the same answer: "What makes you think that God approves of the violence? Don't you think that this is the interpretation of a people who are using God to justify and explain why they get to inhabit a land?"
Even though the story of the deliverance of the Israelites from oppression in Egypt reads like a condemnation of the Egyptians, my own interpretation is not so much that God *hates* the Egyptians and loves the Israelites; rather, I think that God hates oppression and delivers people to freedom. This is the consistent act of God as can be seen through the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross. Christ took with him all of our hatred, our bitterness, our unwilllingness to love unconditionally, and he let it die with him on the cross. I got a glimpse of that this year when I did the reflection on that scene where Mary, his mother, and John, his beloved disciple, are joined together by his say so from the cross. Two strangers are thrown into relationship because of the love he has for each. And then, they extend that love to one another. This is the mission of all Christians. We aren't supposed to have a litmus test for our neighbors. We are to love unconditionally.
I am hoping that the Anonymous Peggins will bounce back, or, at the very least recover some of her ability to speak. She has much to share, I know. Not the least of which is the phrase, "Alleluia! He is risen!"