Paradox, promise and prayer: Good Friday

I just returned from a community "Way of the Cross in the Streets." About 25 people walked to the courthouse, Public Square, the Immigrant Center to offer brief reflections on the compassion and pain in our midst. We read scripture, prayed and sang together. And all the while two very sobering thoughts were going through my head:

+ Tonight, a large nondenominational para-church group has rented the Colonial Theatre to "do" their Easter worship celebration - even though it is Good Friday!?! Now, what's wrong with this picture? Sloppy agape? Cheap grace? All party and no struggle? Resurrection without a Cross? I could go on and on... but let me just close this rant with a note that I am all for church that emphasizes grace over judgment. That was our motto in Tucson - but it is just bad theology to "do" Easter without first moving through the Cross. It is hurtful to real people, too, who know all about betrayal, suffering and fear and need a God who is with them in the midst of all our shit, not some phony magic-man.

+ My other thought was that those of us wandering through downtown were taken for granted and hardly noticed: the once powerful, mainline congregations are now as irrelevant to the life of our community as Christ. Being disinherited and forgotten is the blessing of this age for us; now we can not only act beyond the status quo/civil religion work, but be open and honest about radical hospitality. But you could see the pain and disappointment on the faces of some of the old timers; they miss the good old days.

At 7:00 pm our band, Between the Banks, will be leading an experimental liturgy in rock music, post-modern art, prayer and the ancient story of Christ's betrayal to tease out where we might be able to discover God's light within the darkness. We'll do U2, the Eels, Joni Mitchell and other songs - along side some brilliant and challenging visual art - in our search for the blessings of the dark night. If you are around, drop in as there's always a place at the table for you... and you'll dig it.

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