My grandson Riley is ten years old, but when he was younger he was a huge fan of the Toy Story movies and particularly the character, Buzz Lightyear. He had many of the toys, made in Buzz’s image, and with all of the cool accessories that the action figure could use. The Buzz Riley liked the best was one that had a pull cord that would allow the figure to say, “To infinity and beyond!” I cannot be sure, but these were possibly among Riley’s first words, but at the very least some of his most repeated.
I am writing this during Holy Week on Maundy Thursday. Tonight, services will be held in churches across the globe remembering the Last Supper and Jesus’ betrayal and arrest. Tomorrow the pain and suffering coupled with complete abandonment by so many will culminate in his being unjustly nailed to a cross and dying a horrible death. It will be again a dark time as we remember.
Ann Weems in her poem “No Dances” writes these words.
“There are no dances for dark days.
There is no music to bellow the pain.
The best we can do is to remain Still and silent and try to remember the face of God …
and how to kneel
and how to pray.”
I, like you, am aware of so much darkness, so much despair, too much death and destruction in our world; even in places we have called home, wonderful communities in the United States and right in our own neighborhoods. Unspeakable acts of betrayal and violence ending in death or abuse. There are no dances for dark days here, but if we can kneel and pray. We will find God. For God has been, and is, and will continue to be where we are in the darkness.
We know that Easter is coming! Thanks be to God for Resurrection and light once again! We will shout our Alleluias once more. It is right that we should proclaim the Risen Lord and give thanks for our Salvation.
And then what? Darkness does not wait for Holy Week. It crawls and seeps into lives every day. Jesus, according to scripture, as he appeared to the disciples and others after the resurrection ate with them, fed them physically and spiritually, and sent them out; and he sends us out to be light in a dark world. He sent those he knew to feed his sheep which can be pretty messy business. And he sends us into that same messy world, but we do not journey alone because we have the Advocate he promised with us.
So we in our abundant life are called to walk to infinity and beyond, not sitting and resting, but in serving; cleaning up the mess, bringing good news to the poor, proclaiming liberty to the captives, and setting free the oppressed. May it be so as we go rejoicing in the power of the Spirit!