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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

1115: As long as there is human history, the story of Jesus’ suffering has not yet been fully told

Day 1115: Wednesday, April 5, 2022

As long as there is human history, the story of Jesus’ suffering has not yet been fully told

What was in the mind of Jesus of Nazareth two days before he was to die? His companions thought he was about to miraculously display his celestial power. But Jesus was probably well aware of what would lay ahead. There would be no heavenly thunderbolts, no army of angels. He was to suffer — and it would go on and on.

As my friend Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) once put it, "As long as there is human history, the story of Jesus’ suffering has not yet been fully told." That was Jesus’ destiny. That is our destiny. To be with the people who are suffering.

As his friends were enjoying meals together just outside of Jerusalem, Jesus may have sought solace in the night sky. That is something I recommend that we all do today. One close friend wrote this about a nocturnal walk outside,

"From my childhood I remember sitting on our back porch and just gazing at the moon and stars. … Last night I opened the door and looked up into the night sky. ... So calming, so grand, so radiant.

In an instant my perspective changed and all became right in my world. …Tonight I am going to stop trying to make sense of the world and just sit under the stars. …

There is a spot where Jesus supposedly went to find comfort — perhaps he went there at night. Today it is referred to as “Gethsemane.” In Jesus' time it was just a very pleasant grove of olive trees.

Like many other people I have been there. The trees are truly ancient. They may not be the same trees Jesus rested against, but when you wander amongst olive trees you know you are with something that has deep roots in life. That may be a bit romantic, but from where I work all I have to do is look up and see olive trees in front of me. They bring me a sense of hope.

Jesus could not remove all human suffering and neither can any of us, but I like the way that Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) saw it.

If I can stop one Heart breaking

I shall not live in vain

If I can ease one Life the Aching

Or cool the one Pain

Or help one fainting Robin

Unto his Nest again

I shall not live in vain.

I will meet you outside tonight . . .

Brother Toby

For Sunday:

The Good News according to John:

Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.

“Because they have taken away my teacher,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”

She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”

“Mary!” Jesus said.

She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).

On Sunday we celebrate Easter. I find this passage to be the most important to me. How many times has Jesus, our friends, family members, neighbors, children, grandchildren, the homeless, the grieving, called out our name? I can only imagine the names we go by as people, each with the face of the Divine, reach out to us.

Please think about the names we go by... especially as we offer service to others... a litany of life: Friend, Beloved, Sister, Mother, Father, Aunt, Nurse, Medic!, Teacher, Healer, Gardener, House Cleaner, Wise Woman, Wise Man.

We go by so many names in our lives and play so many roles. Each name, each role is linked to that wondrous awareness that our brother Jesus calls us to life.

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