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We are in the midst of Holy Week - the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. As Jim and I were preparing the bulletins for this evening’s Good Friday service and Sunday’s Easter service, I remembered that when I was young - many years ago - I did not like Holy Week at all. I loved Easter. That was always a joyous day. I always got new clothes. It was one of the two times during the year (Christmas being the other) when my mother took me to the “hairdresser” to get my hair professionally pressed and styled in shoulder-length Shirley Temple curls. Church on Easter Sunday was always a “high time,” they used to say. Those who were inclined to shouting came in ready to dance and praise God for the victory Jesus won over sin and death on that great gettin’ up mornin’. Then, after church, the Easter egg hunt and the baskets filled with chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and marshmallow chicks. Yep. Easter was definitely a good day.
But, Lord have mercy, what we had to go through to get to it!
I just read a Facebook post which is the inspiration for today’s blog. My friend, Pastor Vanessa Brown, wrote about “radical inclusivity,” which is a term I believe that Bishop Yvette Flunder coined to describe the love of God as inclusive of everyone. The sentences that, sort of, jumped off the screen and got in my face were these: “I am realizing everyday that being radically inclusive is not just something that is easy to walk in or do . . . Every time you think you’ve mastered radical inclusivity, something else comes along to challenge you in that love.”
She’s strumming my pain with her fingers; singing my life with her words! I am currently in one of the greatest emotional and spiritual struggles I’ve been through in a long time, as my ability to love everyone and to see everyone as a beloved child of God is being sorely tested. It is so hard to view people who mistreat us as beloved children of God. I own that it is, for me, and I have heard lots of folks say it is for them, too. We want God to be on our side. We want God to see how right and mistreated we are, and how wrong the other person clearly is. It just gets under our skin to think that they are walking around, living their lives, enjoying their food, probably even smiling and laughing! How dare they - when their inexcusable behavior toward us has reduced us to an angry and/or hurt and/or obsessive walking, talking, mass of misery?! How dare they be okay? How dare God let them be okay? What kind of God can love them?