Forgiveness: Mystic Easter Meditation for Good Friday

So we’ve entered into the Holy City. It’s Passover week, people have come from all over the region to celebrate at the main temple. This Roman occupied territory. Jesus has come in with his disciples and he’s one of many pods of people who have a different opinion on how the area should be ruled. There’s a lot of micro-rebellions fomenting among both the Jewish people and other occupied groups in the area of Jerusalem.

So he comes into this tinderbox knowing already, according to all of the stories, that he’s going to die. He’s with his posse, and he’s trying to imprint upon them the last and most important lessons, to love one another, to forgive. On this morning, he’s woken up and he’s been arrested. 

Already we have the sense of what it’s like in a human body to be doing nothing wrong except expressing your divinity or your thought, a or new way of being, and having that idea draw in others who are magnetized to it. Then to be sitting there in the face of the other powers who already are controlling things and have them come upon you and arrest you. Is that not the way of all political life? We don’t want to hear the stories of liberation, we want them, people to stay in their place.

So he comes in with the story of liberation, that you belong to you, you belong to divinity, you are that. They come and arrest him. It’s obvious now from historical research that the accounting of how the arrest and the trial happened has been manipulated many times, that the early evangelical Christians were trying to curry favor with Rome. So they may pilate out to be a sensitive figure, and they made the Jewish people out to be the demons who crucified Christ, which is the root of a lot of antisemitism and separation.

Here he is speaking to power and is unjustly accused, is arrested, is brought before the tribunal, is sentenced to death. This is all happening in a very short time. So this is where the story turns from a political story,story, to  the idea of how does one stand in your center and speak truth to the powers that be?  How do you hold on to what your deepest values are and say, “This is not right,” even in the face of potential death. 

They kill him in the most egregious ways by all accounts. But it’s not an unusual method, people think often of the crucifixion as this thing that happened to Jesus. But that’s how all criminals were treated, many criminals who were sentenced to death.

He has to carry this cross. His was particularly according to all the stories, filled with mockery and shame. I equivalent that in the modern era to trolling. To the sense that in order to silence you, the structures that are based in fear or power want you to feel small and like you may be wrong. So they’re throwing all of these things at him, mockery, shame, in addition to the physical burden of the cross. So that’s all happening. 

When I put myself in the shoes of a person who’s being accused and carrying his own cross and then hanging up there with all of these other figures who have done minor theft or insulted the power structure in some way, it becomes a different narrative. 

So how is it in the story (that has lasted 2000 years), that one conducts or comports oneself after this has happened? Is it despair? Is it anger?

No. 

What he’s doing while he’s up there is initially forgiving the others around him. That’s the first utterance, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” The second utterances to forgive all of the other people who have been crucified, that we’re all operating at the level of what we can see already, and they can’t see it. So he’s dwelling in this forgiveness. 

As the day passes, hanging on the cross, he asks for water. Then he begins to recite a psalm, in the Jewish tradition. Psalm 22. Psalm 22 is a very human song. It’s the psalm of lamentation, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” At least that’s the way it begins.

He’s lamenting. It’s like a lover saying, “Where have you gone? Have you abandoned me in my moment of need?” But as the psalm progresses, it has a second phase, where the limitation is for all people. It’s the initial limitation is personal. Why have you left me? The second part of the psalm is the crying out for all of the people who are just there, disillusioned about who they really are, about their connection, and who they belong to. Then the third part turns into a song of praise.

” It was you who took me from the womb, you who kept me safe from my mother’s breast. On you I was cast from my birth. And since my mother bore me, you have been my God, do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there’s no one to help.”

So even in this moment, of loss and sadness. He’s saying, “Thank you for bearing me and for protecting my life from the day I was born until this moment now, and for guiding me.” Then the last part in Psalm 22 becomes a song of praise for all the nations not just on behalf of the individual, but on behalf of the whole. 

So you have this incredible journey of being up there and in pain, but your narrative is, “I know my truth. I forgive. I give thanks to the life that I have had.” 

Matthew Fox talks about the gospel of compassion. He writes: Matthew Foxes, “We do not die once. We all die many times. Life does that to us with our losses, our betrayals, our own mistakes and emptying out. But we also resurrect on a regular basis as well. We forgive. We are forgiven. We move on. We give birth anew, thus that life and death are more synergetic than we usually imagine them to be. God’s exit is her entrance as Meister Eckhart put it. The depths of the Valley of Death do not overcome the power of life, which makes things new again. Injustice seems to triumph so often, but justice will have the last word.”

To me, these are some of the passages that the Good Friday Easter Sunday archetype brings to awareness. There is no resurrection without visiting Hades, which we’ll talk about tomorrow. 

Good Friday today rules for just a short period. But the longer period is the new life and the victory over death, and the fear of death that the Sunday will represent.

So with that, the other piece I want to just bring in is the characters that are surrounding him. Some of the other characters that you might take into your silent meditation are Joseph of Arimathea. Joseph is the one who went after Jesus died to ask where the body of Jesus, and took him down from the cross, and washed him, and wrapped him in linen with the women. He had already purchased a tomb for himself, and he placed Jesus in that tomb.

So this gesture of compassion- it is done, but we will still take care-  this so moving to me. Then you have the women who are so often left out of the story. Mary Magdalene, his beloved, and his mother. So there’s just something about that role of being, just loving someone so much and cherishing them, and watching them die or watching them go, and being present with that vulnerability, and that sadness, and still just doing your duty.

One of the other things Jesus does on the cross as he’s passing us, of course, in that time, a woman who had no son and no husband would be abandoned. So he turns to one of his disciples, and he says, “Mother, meet your son.” He says to him, “Son, meet your mother.” He hands them over, hands her over to them, the care of someone who will love her.

So all of these stories that we have been fed through a filter of dominance hierarchy and the fuckery of the church, and all of the other things, these stories are so human and so poignant. So as you’re going into your silence today, you have some choices on which of those pieces moved you, standing in the face of injustice, forgiveness and mercy in the face of anything.

The million small deaths and how life is bigger or what it means to go on after loss. So we are going to sit in silence for 20 minutes. I’m going to put a little background music on. But if you would drop in and just regain your center again. Breathe. Allow the jaw to soften, your eyes to fall back in your head. Any tension in the neck to fall away. Roll your eyes upward slightly towards the third eye. And let that tunnel from the third eye back to the center of the brain open and follow that tunnel into the deepest center of yourself. Open your ears. Open your ears to listen outside and open your ears to listen to your heart. I will find you in 20 minutes.

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You are my divine brother, you are the heart of my heart. I know who I belong to who I am no matter what’s happening in the world outside. They can do the worst to me that they can imagine. But we are all of you. You are our divine brother.

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