Holy Week 2023 Reflection
Holy Week starting with Palm Sunday is the most loving time of a Christians life. It is the reminder that the Divine loved the world and you and I that the Divine chose to become one like us a human fully alive and fully Divine to show how much we are special. Even though the Divine gave us the earth and our life we as humans feel things are not good enough or perfect enough and so we create within our self a tension between the Indwelling Spirit and what we want as an instant gratification. Instant gratification in people, places, and things only fill us but a short me and create a void within us that can only be filled by recognizing and accepting the life of the Spirit within.
My life as a therapist and pastor shows how many people are searching for meaning and purpose in their life. That search and longing usually presents itself in the form of broken relationships, addictions, anxiety, and depression. While many of our mental health concerns are genetic and some require medicaon, all need a safe environment where one can ask what life is all about and what the purpose is in life. I dare say that the search for most people is a search for the Divine. Our religious institutions are not providing a safe spaces for people to develop their own understanding of the Divine and the ministry which each has been called. Rather these religious communities continue to try and give people a boxed in rigid rule ridden God who most people when they reach college age no longer believe and leave their communities.
We at the Catholic Diocese of One Spirit and the Faith Community of St. Francis offer all a place not to believe as we do but to express your own understanding of how the Divine has already touched and healed you. We seek to provide a safe space for you and all people to learn from us and to teach us. No one has the full truth about the Divine for we and the Divine are still growing in our awareness of each other.
Faith Communities are called to be seed beds for the continued belief and ministry of the People of the Divine. We nurture the seed of faith already planted in the hearts of those who believe or have become disenfranchised or have given up their belief. Without faith and hope our world and our lives become very painful and it is easy for us to become stuck in our physical, emotional, and spiritual pain closing in on ourselves until we are no longer. With faith and a community to support us we can have hope and strength given by the Spirit to live through our suffering and be a sign of the Suffering Christ and the Risen Christ.
As we come to the close of our Lenten season in two weeks, I challenge my fellow leaders of faith communities to reflect on our communities and ask if we are a seed bed which nurtures and heals lives or are we a rigid group who regulates what we have interpreted as the Divine’s justice. I also challenge all those who believe and those who have become disenfranchised to consider returning to the faith community who misses you and needs your understanding of the Divine. We need you to help us be the message of universal love for all people which is so desperately needed in a world where violence and hatred seems to have risen to the top. If we want better lives of peace, security, and love then we must ask ourselves, are we continuing to it.
If we are awaiting the Divine to do for us that we can do for ourselves as individuals and faith communities, we will be waiting a long time. St. Paul changed his theology of the coming of Christ realizing that the Messiah will return when we as faith communities begin to love all people and act with justice and peace. My Prayer for our community and yours is that during this Holy Week we will draw closer to a deeper understanding of how the Divine is calling us beyond our boxes so we can go outside our comfort zone. If we believe in the Spirit, we cannot define or box ourselves in or we will miss the new ways the Spirit is calling us to be a loving presence in our world. Let us not be distracted by low church attendance or get distracted by theology as to who believes as we do or not for these things divide and we know the source of division is not of the Divine.
Happy and Blessed Holy Week
Principal Bishop CDOS
Spiritual Leader & Guide of St. Francis Community of Faith for All People