Friday, March 21, 2008

And the earth shook

At the time of Jesus' death, "...the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life" (Matthew 27:51-52). . His death opened our way into the Presence of God, regardless of who we are or any distinctions made here on earth based on wordly values.

Some people think that because I have a disability I live with what they call "a cross". They liken living with my disability to Christ's sufferings. Some even say to me that I have been given this "cross" here on earth so that it will teach me how to be a better person spiritually. I don't see  disability this way. Suffering is not an inevitable part of living with a disability. 

I do think we need to carry away the  message that we are brothers and sisters here on earth, equal spiritual beings, and that some  unnecessary suffering can be alleviated by living as such together and working to create the changes that people need. I believe we need social change in order to eradicate many problems facing the disability community, but in the meantime that there are ways to assist with immediate needs.

I work with many faith based people when I reach out to meet the immediate needs of families with a loved one with a disability who need help. I call and find a retired man who is in the Knights of Columbus who will find them a walker or a commode, or an Episcopalian carpenter who will build a ramp, or a Jewish college student who will bring meals. I may find a professional who can afford to donate services, or a company that can give a product that is in its warehouse. Solving some of these day to day issues resolves unnecessary, not inevitable, suffering. It is no different than helping a family whose breadwinner has lost his job, or a family whose home has been ravaged by fire.  When we meet the needs of each other here on earth, we practice our faith by recognizing that we are all brothers and sisters, children of God.

On days like Good Friday, we are reminded of Christ's sacrifice for us, that He came down to earth to live among us, to teach us how to treat each other. We relive the hours he spent on the real cross and his great love for us, despite our  human flaws and foibles. We pray to be better and worship side by side . 

And then, when the dramatic words revealing the power of God to tear curtains asunder, to shake the earth, to even raise the dead fade in our minds, it is more difficult for all of us to keep the resolve to change and live our faith now, in this world, on this earth, before we leave it. The supernatural events that followed the crucifixion are forgotten in the day to day living we do. We forget that, in the end, all differences between us will be leveled and taken away, mostly because those differences have nothing to do with realizing who we are as spiritual people. The differences fade when we see each other as brothers and sisters and not as someone who is different.  And I think Good Friday can be a reminder to do that.

I've met many people in the Catholic community and other faith communities over the past years who  live their faith when I've called on them to do so. I am in awe of how the power of God is shown in their lives and it is a reminder to me that, if we allow ourselves to be a channel of love and service for God, He will "shake the earth" in a way that alleviates the unnecessary, not inevitable, suffering of others.


Tausign said...

This is an 'keeper' reflection 'Wheelie' Ruth; I think I'll print it and ponder it again. Yesterday a friend and I prayed the rosary for your situation with mom. Glad to hear she's doing better.

If you'd like a 'concerto' reflection of Good Friday, come to my blog to hear Good Friday Reflection Through Music.

Peace and all good.

Ruth said...

Thanks so much for your prayers for my mom. I'm just back from your blog and found your Good Friday Reflection - it was very spiritually moving.