As a part of my daily practice, I have been sitting with verses from the Christian tradition in the morning after meditation. This morning I was sitting with a few verses from a Psalm and one verse from the Signs Gospel.
Psalm 77:17-21 The waters saw You, O God, the waters saw You and were convulsed; the very deep quaked as well. Clouds streamed water; the heavens rumbled; Your arrows flew about; Your thunder rumbled like wheels; lightening lit up the world; the earth quaked and trembled. Your way was through the sea, Your path through the mighty waters; Your tracks could not be seen. You led Your people like a flock in the care of Moses and Aaron.
Signs Gospel 19:17 So they took Jesus who carried the cross for himself, out to the place called Skull (known in Hebrew as Golgatha).
It always amazes me what captures me when I put two seemingly unrelated things together, how they inform and speak to one another. This is not the first time I have had reference to the Exodus and Jesus’ crucifixion show up together and I have found deep meaning in reflecting on those two events. Both are concrete stories illustrating transformation. The Israelites are led out of Egypt, out of slavery and bondage into a barren wilderness. It is here that they are provided each day the food and water they need. It is here where they complain wondering if this wandering is better than the bondage they came from. Moses himself never realizes the promised land of milk and honey. I wonder for Jesus as he entered knowingly into the violence that would take his life, what his manna was in that wilderness. The Israelites had a cloud to guide them by day and a pillar of fire by night. What guided Jesus and gave him the strength to pass through his own barren wilderness to the cross and then into return to the Holy? For those who believe in resurrection and transformation what must it have been like to be released by death from Jesus’ body? Would it feel like liberation into another wilderness? Would it feel like the fullest essence of milk and honey?
The verses from the Psalm this morning caught my attention imagining the effect on the water of seeing God. That God was leading through this chaos, this place of creation leaving no visible tracks speaks to me about the invisible forces that move in and around us when the Sacred happens in and to us. Everything has changed, but nothing seems to have changed. This is another of those places that I envision as possibly terrifying, but also maybe exhilarating. It is that same infinite point of life/death. And in the middle of this chaos, I see Jesus, carrying his cross himself, walking consciously with love. It makes me wonder, what is my cross? Is it a burden and a punishment as I was taught or the threshold into milk and honey and liberation so profound that I can’t see it or imagine it? It may just be a mystery that cannot be put into any kind of words, a way to say yes, a way to be authentic no matter the cost. Tonight I just want to stand still for a moment, to choose again the mystery I carry. I just want to be drenched by the waters and feel completely alive in the quaking deep and the streaming waters and the lightening. Tonight I will let these images and words play in me and dream the trackless path till I rise in the morning to face another day of wonder and challenge.