Theologically the Christian tradition speaks of this as the Paschal Mystery - how God chooses to be present with grace in even the worst situations - and offers both atonement and redemption to those humble enough to accept the gift. Not everyone is will to surrender or be empty, of course, so their pain remains. Every spiritual traditon seems to honor this paradox - giving it different names - and it is clearly a minority report in the triumphal and shallow Christianity of contemporary American culture. But that is one of the real blessings of "disestablishment" - we can now go to the edge and be honest - because we really don't have anything to lose.
We're going to open the liturgy with this instrumental track adding voice over from the Easter Vigil using variations on the text: o blessed fault, o happy sin... o sweet gift of grace in the midst of hitting rock bottom. The musical groove finally came together tonight and while we have a few "glitches" to work out tomorrow, I think this is going to be important.
Naomi Shihab Nye puts it like this in her poem "Kindness" ~
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.