it’s wednesday and it’s quiet in sweden. well, the bells on the churches are not ringing. there are still people moving about, doing things. but it feels a little different. it’s dymmelonsdag (“dumb wednesday”, sort of). the day before maundy thursday. today is a day for silence. thought. and preparation for the next few dark days.
we’re afraid of silence in this world. it makes us come face to face with ourselves. and usually we don’t like what we see. but, that’s perfect for today. it’s tough, but it’s perfect. and necessary. how else will we know who we really are as individuals, as a society, as a world if we don’t confront the negativity, the corruption, and the despair? how can we make a difference if we aren’t aware of the sufferings in our own lives and the lives of others?
i’ve been reading in all the gospels the stories of the last days of jesus. i’ve read again about his frustration and anger with the corruption in the temple and in the jewish society in jerusalem. i’ve read again about his willingness to confront those corruptions and challenge all who heard him to live a life of integrity and justice. i read again of those coward whispering behind closed doors of their secret desire to get rid of this jesus person who was messing with the status quo. i’ve thought about how jesus was a threat by seeking justice and truth in the middle of a screwed up, corrupt religious and secular society. and i’ve read about the woman who lavishly poured expensive oils on jesus, while others looked on and questioned why she wasted such precious materials, when it could have been used for better things.
i’ve thought about the world of jesus, and our world today. where are those who are willing to stand up to the status quo today? where are we? who are we in the stories of the days just before passover? the woman? the corrupt religious and secular leaders? do we do things that we think are gonna help out, or do we truly seek to bring about justice? are we all about our own agendas and afraid of those who stand up? do we think that there is nothing we can do? are we afraid to speak the truth?
today, right now, there are struggles for freedom all around the world. in the destruction in japan. in egypt. in the streets of europe. in the little towns and big cities in america. in the villages of africa and south america. in war-torn libya. in homes in bahrain. i could go on…
perhaps it feels like too much. perhaps it’s too scary to stand up for what’s right. perhaps, if we do, we may be killed. but, all i can think about on this quiet day, knowing what comes tomorrow and friday, is that there is one who has gone before us who was willing to peacefully, yet loudly, stand up and speak the truth. in the midst of so many who were afraid of and angry with him, he spoke over and over of the love, faith, and hope that is given to all people. he made that love a reality on earth. and he was killed for it.
but we’re not willing to make that sacrifice, are we? we’re not willing to die (literally or figuratively) for others? where is the line? what should we do? how far should we go? the only answers that i have lie in the example of the person of jesus. we are to love unashamedly, fight without weapons, and confront those things that keep injustice alive.
today i find tons of inspiration from people all over the world, especially those involved in peaceful protests in various countries where the citizens are calling for a change, fighting for human rights. one woman in particular has caught my attention. she’s a 27 year old mother from bahrain, who watched her dad, husband, and brother-in-law be pulled off into the night by masked men (bahranian security forces) while they were all having dinner together on april 11. she has written a letter to president obama and has decided to go on a hunger strike until her family members (who were arrested most likely because they are human rights activists) are returned. this young woman is speaking up and she is risking her life by opening her mouth and telling her story.
another man in bahrain, taking part in the sit-ins and peaceful protests said on monday: “I’m 45 years old. It’s the first time in my life I break the barrier of silence, the first time I feel freedom. The [current] regime does not wish us to enjoy freedom or dignity. For decades we’ve been ruled by an iron fist, by the force of weapon.”
so, on this quiet day we can make the time to ponder a little and face ourselves. wherever we are we can carve out a little silence so we can think a little… where are our voices? what are we doing? how far are we willing to go?
here’s a little poem to read today and get our thoughts moving… (thanks to one of my seminary professors)
Each drop of wine we pour is hope and prayer that people will cast out the plagues that threaten everyone everywhere they are found, beginning in our own hearts:
The making of war, the teaching of hate and violence, despoliation of the earth, perversion of justice and of government, fomenting of vice and crime, neglect of human needs, oppression of nations and peoples, corruption of culture, subjugation of science, learning, and human discourse, the erosion of freedoms.
peace to all.