Saturday, March 23, 2013

Why this waste?

Easter is a celebration of failure.

That's a peppy way to start now, isn't it? I couldn't help but think this after reading through a little of Matthew, trying to conjure up wise thoughts on this season.  I haven't been to church in a couple weeks, and when I met with my group of friends that talk about church, we talked about the last time we cried. I'm not sure why. It supposedly had something to do with getting ready for Easter.  Well, looking at how the world around Jesus at the time got ready for was kind of pathetic.  Of course, they didn't know they were getting ready for Easter. They didn't really know what was going at all, that we know.  

If I ever want to feel better about myself, which is often enough, I just read the questions his disciples' asked Jesus. Try it sometime, you'll instantly feel smarter, you will be patting yourself on the back and calling out toasts to your superior intelligence and spirituality, never asking Jesus stupid questions like they did. And if nothing else, you can at least wallow in self-pity that when you have asked Jesus a stupid question or are not alone.  You are far, far from alone.  He doesn't seem to mind, either, at least, He will put up with you still.  Which is more than I can say for myself.  Remember the desperate, foolish whispers and calls you've requested of Jesus, and you may have more gentleness when it comes to the rest of the world.

Right before Judas plans the betrayal of Jesus, the story of a woman with the alabaster jar of perfumed oil poured out onto Jesus' feet is told; the disciples ask (indignantly) "Why this waste?" And it actually says "Jesus, aware of this" ... His thoughts something like "Come on, guys, you think I don't know?"  They really didn't know.  Every time they thought they were finally catching on, it was obvious they weren't.  As disciples, they were failures. All of them betraying, leaving, deceiving their Rabbi.  This might be because Jesus was a failure himself.  

Our Prince of Fools, our God-Man, who was supposed to rule the Kingdom and lead His Jewish people to triumph and victory.  To them, He did fail.  Not only in the way that he lived, but in the crushing way that he died.  The crowds crooning for his death, people that shouted Hosanna and cursed him, nearly in the same breath.

Why this waste? 

Why was this man Jesus even born, if this is how he died?  That he died at all.  It is no wonder that so many that followed him, abandoned him.  If only they'd understood, if only they could. Love died, so that freedom could be found. Even after the stone was rolled away from the tomb, and the truth was known, it must have all been a little fuzzy, a little Twilight Zone. OK, you're alive, great! ...Now what? They all figured it out, all went on to give themselves much like their King did.  Many of them dying a death as brutal as Him. Failure, failure, failure.  That's how it looks.  

And that is why I love this gospel, this faith, this hope. Because if my life sometimes feels wasted, if failure is heaped on my head, if I don't fully understand or am understood, if I feel like a fool; I think about the Easter truth. Ready for Easter? I know I am ready for Easter when I am left feeling confused and dopey, my mouth hanging open because as much as I grasp and strain and shimmy, I don't get it all.  

Life is not waste, death is not waste, failure is not waste. Celebrate with me the Greatest success disguised as failure there ever was.


The Prude said...

A lot here to chew on. That last line says it so well. And come April, May, June, etc., we get to celebrate this incredible 'foolishness' every Sunday when fallen, messy sinners join other messy, fallen sinners to worship the All-Glorious. (sorry, you just inspired me to wax poetic!:)

Anonymous said...

Dear Emma, We do come and read and ponder similar thoughts as yours, and find ourselves out of time to comment as fully as we would like. We will celebrate "the greatest success disguised as failure" tomorrow morning at early service. Grampa will even serve at the altar. More than that, more than the Easter service is the way we choose to follow Jesus, to live our lives every day in HIs steps and for all of it we are thankful. And, tomorrow we will get to pray, "Thank you God for the life of Emma B. and all that she is and does. Please bless her, watch over and guide her and keep her for she is your child. Amen" Love and prayers and Happy Birthday, nana jep

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