Saturday, March 30, 2013

Brave Enough to Surrender


Are you brave enough to surrender?  At first this seems like an oxymoron like adult children or barely dressed. But taking a deeper look, we can see that it takes real courage to let go and let God, to surrender to a greater ideal.

We celebrate Palm Sunday using the genius of Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice's Jesus Christ Superstar" to help take  a closer look at the activities of Holy Week.

Easter is a day when even unbelievers come to church. They come for a variety of reasons but at the center of it, is a message of eternal life, or hope that never dies. Not as many are faithful to attending Palm Sunday. When we can see how that story is being re-enacted in our own lives, may give it more consideration. Sacred scripture is just as relevant today as it was when it was first written. Sometimes we need to look for the relevance.

Our spiritual journey is about discovering the power and presence of God in our lives. So we examine with love the characters in the story, and similar to dream interpretation, we come to understand that each character has something to teach us. Judas, who betrayed his friend; Mary, who loved him; Pilate, who had  a premonition; Herod, who used ridicule to manipulate and Jesus who asked his friends to stay with him while he prayed; each story is our story, universal and powerful. Most importantly Jesus struggle to stay the course knowing how it would end.

Imagine knowing that soon you would be betrayed by your good friend, that leaders of your faith would persecute you, your friends would deny knowing you, and that you would be barbarically executed. Jesus would have know being omniscient.

We read in scripture  Luke 22:44, " And being in agony he prayed more earnestly."

Jesus had a human side, too. He admonished money changers, he was reluctant to perform his first miracle. Rice pens evocative lyrics in his prayer in Gethsemane,

"If there is a way,Take this cup away from me.For I don't want to taste his poison,Feel it burn me,I have changed,I'm not as sure as when I started.Then I was inspired.Now I'm sad and tired.Listen surely I've exceeded expectations,Tried for three years, seems like thirty,Could you ask as much from any other man?"

How often have you been guided by God to do something but it turned out to be harder than you thought it would be? Rice helps us relate to Jesus at the heart level, to feel compassion for him and perhaps for ourselves. have you ever had a good or even brilliant idea that turned out to be an albatross around your neck?

When we are spiritually guided, we know that we are being guided toward our highest good. Often it is impossible to see that good. I think Jesus was in the same spot. He knew what was coming but from the human level couldn't see the big picture to see that it was all going to be worthwhile. It is about doing the right thing, but I think it is more than that. It is about trusting a power greater than your individual awareness. I have often seen it in relationships. A person is guided to offer her guest room to her father so he can get back on his feet after a long illness, but he is rude to her and her family. A mother gives her daughter a chance to break the grip of addiction, and the daughter leaves the program to get high and dies. Or a person is diagnosed with a debilitating illness and still has young children to raise. And in each case, something worthwhile, something precious emerges such as patience, compassion, insight and faith. In each of these scenarios, one's prayers are likely to be, "Please take this cup of poison from me. I want to do God's will but it feels too hard."

It reminds me of a story of the man who fell down a mountain, stopped his fall by grasping a branch of a tree growing out of the side of a cliff. He could not see the landing below him. It might have been a few feet or it might have been thousands. The man cried out to God, "Dear God, if you can shear me, please help." A deep voice answered, "I can see you. Let go of the branch." The man thought about for a moment and then shouted, "Is there anybody else up there?"

Sometimes we know what we must do in order to take the next right step spiritually. Jesus wanted to know that if he cooperated with the plan that it would be worthwhile. Here's what I know, "It is done unto us as we believe."  Therefore, if we have confidence in our relationship with Source and are creating what we really want, it will be worthwhile.

It is up to each individual. I know that we are all parts of the story and every character in it. I trust that not only on Palm Sunday but every day, we are brave enough to surrender. When we come true, so do our dreams.