There and Almost There

Today I am more aware of my fellow Lenten mountain climbers than ever. In fact there is a huge troupe ahead of me. They are called the westerners, and they have already reached the top. We are both celebrating Christ's victory, but while me and my group are happy about Palm Sunday, His very good day on earth, they are at the very top already. For them the scary death was a cave they already walked through. I see them resting and joyous while we are bracing for the hardest holiest part of the climb.

This has never been a race and we all know it. I am very happy for them, I love to see them in their celebration. Today, I feel like an earthly echo of a heavenly scene. They are lucky. Being at the top they can scan the whole valley beneath them, this beautiful natural world and the delights of being human.

Worth Repeating - Two Easters One Christ
Originally Published Friday, March 21, 2008 at 07:55AM

Today in normal time Western Christendom focuses on the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ in passion plays and church services of many styles because it is Good Friday, while for the East houses of worship are dark and parking lots empty. This Sunday the difference will be a little more dramatic. Joyous children of the West, whose mothers are dawning Easter bonnets and whose baskets brim with chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and sugary peeps will celebrate the end of the long sacrificial Lent while in the East the most devout will be grateful for a little olive oil and a sip of wine.

The rest of the world looks on shaking their heads and wondering what the scandal was that caused the marriage of the West and East to fail. Then they shrug their shoulders and go back to hot dogs and a ball game.

And yet no one seems to think twice that while it’s daytime in Dayton, they are sleeping in Slovakia and yet there is only one sun. Geography shows us how it is possible to be far apart and yet similar. The truth is that there is only one Son of God: Jesus Christ, and one day: Friday upon which He was nailed to the Cross, and one day on which He showed the world that it didn’t really kill Him. For West and East alike, that is every Friday and every Sunday.

For those who only commemorate Good Friday once a year and Easter once a year there is a big difference between Western and the Eastern Christendom. These precious folks may not be aware of Church-time. They think we aren’t celebrating together, but they are wrong because we are celebrating together. While the one sister is celebrating quietly the other sister is all showy adorned with baubles and bells. While the sun shines in Slovakia, sleeping Susie in Dayton dreams. They are living in the same moments of time, and so is Christendom.

Calendars, our two ways of calculating when we want to be loud, have not separated us as much as some think. The most wonderful part of it all happens when we cross the street to cry louder with our sister on her Good Friday and rejoice raising that glass of wine on Sunday giggling about the holy supernatural phenomenon that happens when the Son rises in the West first. Both good sisters know that it is not ever really normal time in Christendom anyway.