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The End.

There is a 12th Century tradition for Good Friday called Tenebrae.  The service begins with 15 lit candles.  The tallest candle is the Christ Candle.  As the story of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion are read, the candles are snuffed out one by one until only the Christ candle remains.  Finally, the story is told of Jesus’ death and burial and the Christ candle is also snuffed out.  The end.

The death of a loved one — spouse, child, parent — is THE most stressful life-event a person experiences.  Tragic death often leads to deep depression and suicidal thoughts. One can only imagine the mental state of Mary as she watched her son be executed unjustly.   One can only imagine the grief of Mary Magdalene or of John, the disciple Jesus loved.  They had lost their light.  They descended into the grave with Jesus.  There was nothing more.  Imagine.  The end.

Maybe you don’t need to imagine.  Maybe you have experienced this kind of grief and pain.  But if you have not experienced this kind of grief, try to imagine.  Imagine the mothers who have watched the video of their unarmed sons or daughters being shot by police.  Imagine the students who have watched their friends be gunned down in school.  Imagine the children who have watched fathers be arrested and deported by ICE.  These are today’s tragic events of grief, pain and descent into darkness. . Imagine the end and linger there.

The value of lingering in the grief of tragedy (like Good Friday) is that it makes us sensitive to the pain of others, it produces within us compassion for those who have suffered deeply and it motivates us to act for justice in the face of injustice.  While you may want to rush to Sunday and the joy of Easter morning, let grief do its work in you.



One Comment

  1. In remembering Jesus’ death, we connect to the One Source — The Tree of Life, that grants us everlasting life if we accept, believe and emulate His life-style to the best of our ability in our own unique sphere of influence. However, if we “do” for our ego — to name drop our deeds and prayers, as the Pharisee’s did, we are lost. It is not for me to say the latter are not “saved” as none are perfect, and Jesus is are ultimate judge.

    However the Zohar’s sages are more decisive, suggesting that those who perform deeds or prayers for the ego, will not share a place in the world of God. The reason why traditional Jews burn chammetz (leavened bread) during this season of Pesach (Passover) to symbolize the death of ego, is the ideal.

    In short, the best way to connect to the energy of Jesus’ resurrection is to give in secret — anonymously. We’ll recall Jesus healing, and telling a man, “tell no one.”

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