We often think that vulnerability is a kind of weakness,
but there’s a kind of vulnerability that is actually strength and presence.
Holy Week has begun in very different way this year. There were no palms to hold on Palm Sunday, no parades as we sang hosanna.
This year we face a challenge new and risk-filled. A virus! Unlike one we have ever faced before. Our need for protection, our need to be separated from one another put many of us in front of screens in our homes- be they computers or televisions – it was the way we gathered for this first day of Holy Week. The prayers, the readings and music were all familiar. Our spirits stretched to reach a common, sacred place.
It is easy to feel vulnerable. Outside of our doors there is a real sense of threat and much is unknown.
On Palm Sunday we are reminded that vulnerability is not always about weakness. The actions taken by Jesus speak to strength and courage. He entered Jerusalem, knowing it would ultimately cost him his life. He went into that city looking triumphant but he knew he was vulnerable and so he entered strong and present.
Holy week has begun in a very different way this year. Like all the people who waved palms of welcome and hope as Jesus entered Jerusalem, we cannot see the future. We can only breathe in this moment, with prayer and gentle patience
Quote: Ram Dass
The only choice we have as we mature is how we inhabit our vulnerability,
how we become larger and more courageous and more compassionate through our intimacy with disappearance, our choice is to inhabit vulnerability as generous citizens of loss, robustly and fully, or conversely, as misers and complainers, reluctant, and fearful, always at the gates of existence, but never bravely and completely attempting to enter, never wanting to risk ourselves, never walking fully through the door.
Quote: David Whyte
Wherever you stand – be the soul of that place. RUMI
Since the recent Friday morning when I woke to news of another devastating tragedy in Colorado, I have been filled with prayers, touched by memories and searched for places of hope.
Prayers -for all people who spent what seemed like an eternity terrified for their safety and for their loved ones. For those who died and for those left behind. For the injured and all the caregivers. For a troubled and dangerous young man and a city and nation numbed by the harsh reality of our vulnerable and tenuous safety.
Memories– of all the times etched in our minds and hearts when our world shook from these same kind of tragic moments: the brutal death of John F. Kennedy, his brother, Bobby and Dr. Martin Luther King; the 1st attack of the Twin Towers in New York City, the explosion of NASA’s Challenger, the Oklahoma City bombing, the fatal shooting at Columbine High, the second and devastating attack on NY Twin Towers –911, the Amish school children and teachers who were met with the bullets of an angry man, the shooting at Virginia Tech, and now a terrifying shooting at a movie theater in Aurora. Even compiling this list is unnerving as it is certainly not complete but too long as it stands. A list filled memories which lead to the familiar question; ‘where we’re you when…”.
Searching for places of hope–we seek solace and we long for answers. Our minds need concrete logical explanations for things that only float in the gray. The quest for answers consumes our airways with repetitive ‘breaking news’, interviews and conjecture. This exhausting dissection may appeal to the over-curious and heighten anxiety for many others but what comfort does it bring to the heartbroken? Where do they turn in such a time of confusion and grief? Could we become ‘the places of hope’ where hope is absent? Could we gently hold faith for people overcome with mourning and shock — carry their prayer when they are lost for words and exhausted by sadness?
As directed in these words by Rumi, ‘to be the soul’ in such places may seem impossible but I believe we are already equipped with all we need for such a task. The soul is at the core of our being, binding us to one another. Guided by the heart of compassion, may we help light the way with hope and faith.