Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Good Friday's example of bold compassion

Last week my family faced a difficult day, an anniversary of a tragedy that happened a few years ago. I was too absorbed in that this year to focus on Holy Week, to reflect on the transition Jesus made from exalted One on Palm Sunday to the doomed One on Good Friday to the resurrected One on Easter Sunday. Though through a Good Friday breakfast and Easter services, a radio sermon or two, little by little I was able to slow down and think about it.

My Pastor reminded me what the week was about, that the cross is a place where I could pour out agony, and the empty tomb a reminder that even life-altering grief does not have the final word.

I was also reminded of the bold love and compassion shown by Christ in His final days. Every step of the way, He knew what was coming. He sweat blood as He prayed in fear, seeking an alternative. As He was flogged, spat on, His brow, hands and feet pierced, His body broken, as He cried out to the Father with His last words, I have no doubt that warm fuzzy feelings of love were probably not bubbling up to the surface.

But even so, He still sought forgiveness for His persecutors. He still went ahead with something He could have stopped - I can only imagine the angels just waiting for the slightest nod to step in and stop the injustice. But He did it all anyway because His love and compassion for us are bigger than the most excruciating torture that He suffered.

His love came through, not as something He felt, but as an action He chose to do in spite of everything else.

This is what we are called to do, to love as Jesus loved - sacrificially, our own desires put aside while we tend to those around us, family, friends, neighbors. Even enemies.

 This is not easy. And it is even harder in an increasingly narcissistic world that tells us "If it makes you happy, then do it."  "If it doesn't hurt anyone else, do it." Are they really our new bars by which we set our standards? Our own happiness or the lack of pain we inflict? I cannot agree to that. Because so often our happiness is dictated by temporary feelings that deceive, temporary fads that fall away like quicksand, leaving us lost and wondering what to seek next.

And of course, 'not hurting someone' is a good thing but is it really the decision maker?  If all my action does is keep me happy and doesn't hurt anyone, what a selfish isolated person I become. I challenge myself to step beyond that. Step beyond what I want to do today, and find a way to be bold and compassionate in ways that might not make me happy. It might mean I am not in control of everything and have to play second fiddle. It might upset someone's status quo. Both opposite to today's mantras of the world, but in line with real love and the world's greatest example of it.

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1 comment:

  1. Fantastic! The bar is set low. Indulging oneself never satisfies - it's when we help, do what's hard, challenge our comfort levels that we find satisfaction. An inner comfort with our soul seems to require an investment of some sort of discomfort.


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