May Day Celebrations

2 May

Yesterday was May Day AND my mom’s 89th birthday. She received birthday greetings from 9 am to 9 pm. You would have thought she was on Facebook. It was a great day; we went out of lunch and she ended up eating too much sugar. Kids will be kids.

I love days to celebrate; a reason to party. For one thing, it is my nature to laugh and it doesn’t look so crazy if you laugh at a party. The other thing is the joy that God is with us seems a cause of celebration.

The scripture text that I am using this Sunday is the resurrection story from Luke. Luke’s gospel wants the faithful to know that Christ is walking among us, trying to get us to listen, and particularly revealed in ‘the breaking of bread’. Do you know the story?

13-16 That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was.

17-18 He asked, “What’s this you’re discussing so intently as you walk along?”

They just stood there, long-faced, like they had lost their best friend. Then one of them, his name was Cleopas, said, “Are you the only one in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard what’s happened during the last few days?”

19-24 He said, “What has happened?”

They said, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene. He was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. Then our high priests and leaders betrayed him, got him sentenced to death, and crucified him. And we had our hopes up that he was the One, the One about to deliver Israel. And it is now the third day since it happened. But now some of our women have completely confused us. Early this morning they were at the tomb and couldn’t find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Some of our friends went off to the tomb to check and found it empty just as the women said, but they didn’t see Jesus.”

This is the text that gives the name for the Emmaus Spiritual Life weekend. The imagine given is that Christ is walking among us, but like these first disciples, we didn’t see him. How often we let sadness or bitterness or just our own busyness distraction us from the truth that Christ is walking with us. I like Christ’s response to the disciples sad story.

25-27 Then he said to them, “So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can’t you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don’t you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?” Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him.

28-31 They came to the edge of the village where they were headed. He acted as if he were going on but they pressed him: “Stay and have supper with us. It’s nearly evening; the day is done.” So he went in with them. And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognized him. And then he disappeared.

32 Back and forth they talked. “Didn’t we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?”

I believe it is our task, as people of faith, to develop an awareness of the Divine in our midst and listen to the leading of that Spirit. Of course, I did not come of with this idea.

Today, I began reading again [probably for the 10th time] The Rule of Benedict by Joan Chittister. It is one of my favorite books. Sister Joan writes a wonderful commentary on the 6th century rule of Benedict. This morning, the beginning of the rule, says, “Listen carefully, my child, to my instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.” I have always loved the imagine of ‘the ear of your heart’. We are to listen to The Rule and to God as we would a lover, one who our whole world is wrapped up within.

Our faith life should be full of passion. One where we rush to spend time with God alone. One where we focus on what our lover would want us to do. A life of joy, in love with the Divine, creating, renewing power of the universe.

Sister Joan writes in her commentary, “To the wise, it seems, life is not a series of events to be controlled. Life is a way of walking through the universe whole and holy. Let’s try that today. Peace.

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