May Day, May Day!
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;” (Isaiah 49:15-16a).
Is it in The Passion of the Christ , or was it in a dream? The bloody, battered Jesus looked up and said, “No one comes to the Father except through me,” and it suddenly, concretely, meant: this physical living and dying is the way to the “Father”, the eternal. The earth is our mother, the material of which we’re made and fed, our bone, muscle, oxygen, blood, every tissue, membrane, fiber, and Jesus was made of earth, of flesh, was made of blood and bone taken from his mother Mary, and he ate the fish, the bread, the figs, the grapes of the earth; he suffered hunger, tiredness, weariness, thirst. He suffered crowdedness and loneliness and sorrow and anger, and he loved. He loved his friends, he loved people enough to stop and talk to them, listen to them, touch them. He touched people who were “unclean” in his culture, talked with women who were taboo, and he healed the sick, the leprous, the blind, those crippled by sin. We “get to heaven,” we know God, by being born, living, suffering, loving, dying. Our Creator is going through it with us. They joined the cycle of life which They made, abiding in and with, like vine and branches, and also soil, water, sunlight, leaves and air. We are one. He wept for us; He weeps with us, and brings Joy.
We are still in Eastertide, the season celebrating Christ, from His resurrection on Easter morning to His ascension into heaven after forty days of walking and talking and eating with His followers, and teaching them what the scriptures had said about Him; He was proving to five or six hundred people around Jerusalem and up in Galilee that He was real, He had died as Jesus and risen.
( I use “he” for Jesus, “He” for Christ which is God, or, “God,” Creator, Sustainer, Ground, and Spirit.)
After his death on the cross, He walked and talked and ate with His disciples, He was seen by 500 people at one time, according to Paul ( 1 Corinthians 15:6), Thomas touched his wounded hands and side (John 20:27).
He appeared to the women, first. In all four Gospels, the women were present at his death, and followed Joseph of Arimathea who took the body to his own new tomb, and hurried back to the tomb as soon as the Sabbath– from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday–was over, so they could wash and anoint him. With myrrh, which was one of the gifts the Magi from the East took to the infant Jesus, the gold for the king, the frankincense for the priest, the myrrh for the burial. The women, Mary Magdalene in all four versions, and several other female disciples, saw the rolled away stone and the Angel(s) who said “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” and Jesus himself.
These women ran to tell the others, the Eleven– but the men did not believe them; the men thought they were nuts. Mary Magdalene, who went back to the tomb when Peter and John at least did go rush to see that the body was gone, saw Jesus again; she did not recognize Him until He said her name.
The others, the two walking away from Jerusalem, did not recognize Him even as He walked along the road to their home in Emmaus, showing how the Prophets and Psalms and Scriptures had told of his death– until He sat with them and broke their bread, giving thanks–.
I had been looking forward to writing about this, and beginning a feminist apologetic, with great excitement, and Spring was so full of spring warmth and buds appearing and enlarging daily, first near to the ground, and then on shrubs, on trees, and the purple blossoms were beginning to unfurl along them– but heat and then autumnal cold, and the news. Not the Good News, which I was full of for a week or so, but– the national news–.
Why did Jesus have to die? My sister was asking– between physics lessons she was sending me in emails. And, everyone asks. Why did the Son of God have to die? To appease a blood-thirsty, Old Testamental God? Why did God demand blood and death?
I don’t know– But– look at us!
During April, Eastertide, when Christians should have been sharing the joy of Jesus Christ assuring His followers and teaching them to teach so that they could carry His message of Love and His work of Loving, there were– 45 mass killings in 30 days. I was relieved last fall (rejoiced) that trump was voted out, I was not shocked by the insurrection interrupting the due process of America’s peaceful transition of power on January 6– “Epiphany,” in fact, when those Magi brought the gifts, but–
Google search headlines:
April 16, forbes.com :”More Than One Mass Shooting Per Day Has Occurred In 2021.”
Two days ago, nytimes.com : “A Partial List of Mass Shootings in the United States in 2021.”
A wikipedia listing of the mass shootings shows May 5, May 3, May 2, on the search page, and says, “View 188 more rows.”
Yet it seems the 2nd Amendment is the most important line in the Constitution to white American men (I sweepingly generalize, and I sincerely hope that a lot of them are wounded and offended by that). Regulation would, it seems, be positively unAmerican? Well, so I am…
But, also– during the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd more than three people a day, according to the New York Times, were killed by police. Now, some of these were, no doubt, best choices in the situations, but there was something about Daunte Wright, shot “by accident” when pulled over on a traffic stop, because of a–what? Questionable air freshener hanging on his rearview– that made the black- man-a-day-killed-by-cops sound like gang initiation killings. What the f– Most cars have air fresheners or feathers, saints, masks, hanging on rearview mirrors…What is wrong with people?
In the detention center in Georgia, forced hysterectomies, uteruses removed without the women consenting or knowing ? In the 21st century? Where are all the Pro-Life activists in the face of that?
I have been avoiding news. I had been focused instead on feeling the earth awakening, the energy running under the ground, stirring the snakes and worms, tickling tree roots, and tingling up the trunks to the excited ends of branches, and women were standing, claiming and naming themselves, and Spirit was rising so that I was even preparing to write that this Feminine Nature Earth power, real and wonderful and necessary for life, for healing and feeding, must also be done with care; I wanted, I want, to say, Yes! but remember that it is the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit Jesus spoke of and promised and sends, not some other, instead-of Spirit. The spirit of the earth, the spirit of the trees, the spirits of the waters are the Holy Spirit of God (“God”)– in Their hopeful mode?
I was seeing Totems in the trees– snakes, a fox, a bear, a chipmunk, eagles– the images shift and change: I have “seen” my deer spirits, glimpses of great hooved ones– no, a tree, and the great Bison-Head god along my way shaking his massive dirt-clumped wild mane-y mop of hair at me, and a deer spirit that was, no, not deer, quick: a dancing woman in an antler-y headdress; but, no, when I stopped and looked, it was a tree. Faces carved by nature have been peeking at me, shape-shifting– in the tree trunks, the stumps and roots and logs and sticks upon the ground ( sometimes looking like a battlefield, which makes me think that Satan and his forces might have tried to win Nature, but did not defeat the plants and trees, and moved onto animals and the “advanced,” the “intelligent” animals, the humans, succumbed to his rule.)
When it was still getting dark early, before the time change, the ground was reaching up and tripping me until I stopped talking talking talking in my head while walking ( to manage sciatic and psoriatic pain), and felt my feet on the earth, my animal muscles moving my bones and brain over the rise, down the slope, around the bend beside the little stream that came from the underground spring. I walk at the same hour, which has been light, and have been watching spring coming, step by step, purple and yellow low to the ground, then little buds on bushes, pussy willows, then suddenly the pinks of cherries, dogwoods, red maples– suddenly, over night by night, day by day despite rain, winds, chills, there is pink and yellow and blue and white and more and more and more green, filling in the trees, the ground. The yards– violets and bright sunburst dandelions, and lilacs– isn’t it early for lilacs? There is all this, there is– and this is God (“God”)– this is God at work even to this day. No one knows “God” without this : Life being born.
Somehow, through the explosion of being into being, the intense rush of forces o’erspreading the universe, the excitations of miniscule bits of energy into photons with no mass and the electroweak field bumping and breaking against the bosons,( excited bumping together flickerings of the force) as fields do, (fields being the stuff of “empty” outer and inner and between space which do not have sizes but strengths and pull and are measured, examined, as particles which carry characteristics) and spun out electrons, neutrons, neutrinos, mesons, quarks etc., existences slower than the “speed of light,” through the cooling and bumping and sticking and solidifying and liquefying and transferring and decaying and evolving, God is at work making the lovely little fronds of wild carrots, the delicate, lacy red leaves of the Japanese maple, and the mass of every perfect, tiny, star-shaped weed.