Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Christian Flower

I nominate the pansy to be the emblematic flower of Christianity. It comes in all sorts of colors and varieties, representing the diversity of the Christian family.

It's not an expensive flower, representing the free gift of grace.

The word 'pansy' is frequently used as a derogatory term much like "Christian" was (and sometimes is even now).

But honestly and truly, the reason it should represent Christianity is that it does not give up. My family has not planted pansies for years yet we find them hiding throughout the flowerbeds and yard. Yes, a single pansy is easy enough to pull up and dispose of, much like the individual Christian martyr is; but, as a whole, the Christian faith and the Church will live on through oppression, violence and slander just like the pansies continue to pop up where they can find the sunlight and the nourishment . And when Christianity is at its best, it will endure all sorts of things without resorting to violence to "protect" itself, its honor, its Scripture, or its leaders.

God help us if the pansies fight back.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Too late for confession

Last night at the Good Friday liturgy I noticed something odd: no confession.

On a day that is one of only two major fast days in the Church's calendar, it is entirely counterintuitive. On this day, surely, we should be confessing our sins, acknowledging how our sinfulness led Christ to the cross and how our sin works to destroy us.

Nope. No confession unless you are receiving communion from the reserved sacrament of Maundy Thursday. No communion, no confession, and that was how it was last night.

Good Friday is too late to be sorrowful for sin and is far too late for confession. The wheels had been set in motion; the crucifixion was inevitable once the table for the Last Supper was set. Wheels slowly, slowly turning during the meal, moving hesitantly throughout the night as Christ prayed for the disciples he was soon going to be leaving behind.

In the hour of crisis, confession is too late. There is little to be done to set things right; films make it seem to us like it's never too late because something can always be done. Sometimes our sins will be too much for us to make amends.

I'm sure the disciples wanted to confess their wrongdoings as Jesus was led to the cross and executed. "Lord, forgive me, just let Jesus go!" their lips might have mumbled as they tried to bargain with the God who seemed so hidden at the moment.

Too late for confession. Nothing to be done. The wheels of sin and death are in motion, crushing the innocent and guilty.

But Christ set in motion something else. Something that would break the wheels of sin and death.

Confession might come too late, but salvation still stands firmly before us, even before the brink.