Tuesday, 15 September 2009


as Your Son was raised on the cross,
His mother Mary stood by Him, sharing His sufferings.
May Your Church be united with Christ
in His suffering and death
and so come to share in His rising to new life,
where He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Strange as it may seem, it really hadn't dawned on me until now that Dad died on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Sharing in some way in the suffering and death of Christ brings us to Resurrection. That is anything but a comfortable concept because it involves pain. Real personal pain. I can fully understand why people suffer and reject the Christian way because they cannot reconcile a loving God with their painful experience. So why have I not taken that route?

Quite probably because I have also experienced Resurrection after times of grief. I can and have made the jump from Good Friday to Easter morning in my own life, as well as liturgically and theologically. I have seen both the darkness and the dawn. To hold the Good Friday experience alone as the reality would indeed be soul and faith destroying. Perhaps that is why Judas Iscariot went out and hung himself. He never got the Easter message, just the day of sorrow and that was simply too much for his heart and mind to bear.

A pick and mix theology that cherry picks the elements of the Christian narrative and experience that suit us/appeal to us/resonate with our limited experience is a dangerous thing. It too easily makes God in our own image and that God is not one who can bring us to fullness of life. We need the whole picture. The bits of Scripture we find awful, the aspects of the story we find dead. Because we never know when those dark or mysterious bits will burst into life and bring us wisdom and insight and comfort. The Wisdom of God is strange to human eyes, but it is still wisdom and wisdom beyond our understanding. A wisdom for the times we cannot yet know as well as for the times that have been and the now in which we live.


  1. Like the parts where the 'prophet' asks god to smash the children's heads against the pavement?
    Or where the she-bear gets sent to eat the children who make fun of baldness?

  2. Yes, those bits where God seems to be an utter deity of uncertain parentage are a pest! I'd say retain because I don't think the Bible is the Koran - dictated by God to the author. Being written by human beings (but in my opinion inspired by God)it can reveal a lot about the way people of faith have made God in their preferred image to beat up their foes, eat cheeky brats etc. They can show how we try to turn God into OUR ally and help to explain how and why God judged (judges?) his people for their misdeeds