The Ultimate Word

"The ultimate Word is not a paragraph but a person. If Jesus is the Word of God incarnate, then the heart of proclamation is personal and relational, not propositional."

Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki * God, Christ, Church, page 135

Friday, April 14, 2017

Everything in its own time


Good Friday


Remember everything I told you
Keep it in your heart like a stone
And when the winds have blown things round and back again
What was once your pain will be your home

All around the table the white haired men have gathered
Spilling their sons' blood like table wine
Remember everything I told you
Everything in its own time

The music whispers you in urgency
Hold fast to that languageless connection
A thread of known that was unknown and unseen seen
Dangling from inside the fifth direction

Boys around the table mapping out their strategies
Kings of mountains one day dust
A lesson learned, a loving God, and things in their own time
In nothing more do I trust

But we own nothing, nothing is ours
Not even love so fierce it burns like baby stars
But this poverty is our greatest gift
The weightlessness of us as things around begin to shift

Remember everything I told you
Keep it in your heart like a stone
And when the winds have blown things round and back again
What was once your pain will be your home

Everything in its own time
Everything in its own time

Written by Amy Elizabeth Ray and Emily Ann Saliers.


It seems that every year there’s some song that speaks to me on Good Friday that typically exists beyond the catalogue of what we normally think of as “sacred music”.  And I think that makes sense.  Good Friday is a good day for profanity.  Not in the way that we tend to hear that word in popular culture – like “bad words” or “curse words” – but profanity in its original meaning: that which is outside religious norms.

Though Good Friday is among the holiest days of Christian observance, it’s also very profane.  It’s pretty far beyond any kind of accepted religious norms.  And it’s a day when we remember something entirely profane – the public murder of our savior.  The public humiliation and murder of a good person, who was a child of God, and who was trying his hardest to live his life in accordance with God’s will.

And today, we remember our part in it.  Humiliation and harm, torture and even sometimes murder happen all the time, all around us.  They happen in our own world, in our own lives, and in our own communities.  For all of the preaching about peace and kindness and humanity and community and relationships and all the rest – even despite all of that that we have had through the examples of Jesus and the thousands of years of followers who have sought to emulate him – despite everything, pain and suffering persist.  Humiliation and harm persist.  God’s presence among us continues to seem elusive because of our continued failure to make it known – to make it real.

We hear the evangelist write about “the Jews” and the ways that they made the death of Christ possible.  In our nearly exclusively Christian, American context, it’s too easy for us to hear that – “the Jews” – as “those others”.  But that’s not fair.  We’re still blind to the suffering all around us.  We’re still blind to the path of salvation that is ready for us.  We’re still just as likely to become subject to shifting political wills at the potential expense of our neighbor.  We’re still killing Christ today.

“The Jews” was merely the descriptor that made sense to describe the powers and people of that time and place, but our powers and people today are no less guilty.

Thankfully, this isn’t the end of the story.  But it’s where we are now.  All we can do now is to remember everything he’s told us, and to take everything in its own time.  What was once our pain will be our home.    Everything in its own time.  Amen.

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