Passiondeathresurrection: the Narrow Gate

Our human nature resists the whole concept of suffering. If there is a God worth calling God, why would the innocent and good have to suffer?
If this life is all there is, then there really doesn’t appear to be any reasonable answer to that.
And in my own experience, the more people I let myself care about, never-the-less love, the more I open myself to suffering. How much more would I suffer if I truly loved, or even just cared moderately about all humanity, all animals, perhaps even all creation?
Part of the mystery of suffering is that it seems to be part and parcel of loving. Loving involves being willing to suffer for another and others. Most of us have trouble loving even one person that we choose for a lifetime and  sure don’t want to even consider loving people that look or think very differently than we do.
The Jews longed for a Messiah, a Savior, for literally thousands of years. Have you ever wondered why a close friend, a follower who witnessed the miracles, the power, and the kindness of Jesus would betray him to the point of giving him over to suffer and die. What brought Judas to that kind of hatred?
The shattered expectation that the Messiah would save the Jews, God’s chosen people, from suffering.                                                         Judas witnessed the reality of the power Jesus had, but more and more he saw Jesus using it to save the enemy. And unlike optimistic Peter, he heard what Jesus was beginning to say about his own coming suffering, even dying, instead of freeing them from the tyranny of Rome , the impoverishment of Roman taxes, the constant threat of their children becoming random victims of a ruler’s whim. Judas wanted a triumphant King, not a suffering servant. Disillusionment turned hope into bitterness and hate.
What kind of love was choosing to die rather than to save God’s chosen people?
We still struggle with that question.
Without the resurrection, surely we would all endorse the survival of the fittest at the expense of the vulnerable. If we believed this life is all there is, would we respond to the call to pick up our cross and follow Jesus? We saw where that led Jesus. It led him through the acceptance of the refining of suffering, the acceptance of  humbling helplessness and the crushing feeling of abandonment, even finally through the gate of death itself and only then to resurrection.
The reality is that life is made up of cycles of struggling with suffering until we can accept the deaths of our idols and illusions, the things we cling to out of fear, and only then can we be reborn freer to love each time. Only then do we grow better at loving other imperfect people up close and personal and to care about even the lepers, the hostile, the foreign, the frightening, and the lost.
Life’s natural process includes loss, helplessness, letting go, experiencing the peace of acceptance, then the rebirth of gratitude and humility that leads to love, joy and fruitfulness.
Passion, death, and resurrection should be one process word.

About Eileen

Mother of five, grandmother of nine, great-grandmother of five. 1955 -1959 Rice University in Houston, TX. Taught primary grades; Was Associate Post Director of Religious Education at Ft. Campbell, KY; Consultant on the Myers/Briggs Type Indicator, Was married for 60 years to an Architect in Middle Tennessee.

Posted on December 19, 2016, in Addictions, blessings, Death, disillusionment, doubt, epiphanies, evolving, fear, hope, Jesus, Love, Necessary Losses, Paradox, rebirth, relationships, Resurrection, spiritual growth, Suffering and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Eileen… Jesus doesn’t want or expect me to love Donald Trump or to accept the tyrant. Rome fell.


    • Sorry, Love isn’t conditional. Jesus died for Hitler as much as Mother Teresa. Loving in the sense of asking for and accepting God’s love for someone, doesn’t mean you accept their evil actions. It means you don’t let their hate infect you.


    • Tabby, You’re not hearing the difference between loving a person and accepting their behavior. Or the difference between being willing to stand against them in the same way Martin Luther King did or becoming like them letting fear turn to hate and violence. If we are not willing to die for what we believe in, only to kill, we have lost the whole war.


      • Hitler was sick, so I don’t have to blame him for being sick and insane and that’s loving enough. The “sane” people around him who failed to stop him? The profiteers? The entitled? The fearful? You want me to give ’em all a pass too? I promise to do the buddha thing and let go when I’m retired. But I do not have to love hitler, trump, mother teresa unconditionally. I’m not a fan of mother teresa. She didn’t help women in my opinion. She just worked like a dog. You know did all the work and gave the credit to the men and jesus. She supported a lot of pedophiles in the church. I know hate is poison. I don’t recommend anyone take poison… or hate themselves or others. I’m not a hater. I’m an activist. I’m an artist.
        But I do appreciate your teachings. And your friendship. So thanks for this discussion. No offense to you at all.


  2. And Rome took over Jesus’s message and usurped him… so it will fall again and again… Making god into a “character” that is choosing Tyrants makes no sense. We have free will. You can’t use religion to solve Donald Trump. The separation between church and state matters in our democracy. There’s nothing to pray on that. People need to learn how to press our congress people and lobby for our interests same way as the tea baggers were trained to obstruct and gain control. There are sites coming up with this action knowing we are going into a bad future. They don’t want to feel helpless and just accept the deconstruction of democracy. So I will get that link to you…
    LGBTQ, women’s reproductive rights, not just being wives…but being recognized as humans, not being used as tools by men and corporatists… is Jesus smashing the market place… Jesus is pissed. Love your enemy doesn’t mean allow him to continue abusing you. It’s not tolerating Trump. This is a time to fight against Trump. There is not a middle ground. The country can not afford to be run by a mad man. And the Hosier evangelicals should not place their idea of Jesus over yours. At the Merry Christmas Thank You Tour his fans threw water bottles at the journalists. If Jesus might stand between the stones and prostitutes, how about what Pence and Trump are allowing? If the whole country goes down, so be it. It can’t be helped… but it won’t be me that is to blame for not being “peaceful” and I am pretty sure Jesus wants me to ring the alarm bells.


  3. Okay, your was answered prayer. I had already decided to go to the next local Democratic Party meeting and the local NAACP meeting because I know the power starts on the local level. I have put the site on my face book page and twitter and am emailing it to church members and friends everywhere. Will give it out at the little old lady clubs that I belong to. Most of this can be done by those of us that feel helpless due to age related limits.

    Thank you for both challenging and offering viable options for a response.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: