Flight or Fight … or Faith?

 

“Surely not I, Lord” they said when he warned them they would betray him. “I will never desert you,” said Peter. They would never flee from Jesus. They would always stand by him. They were sure of that tonight as they broke bread with Jesus at the Passover Seder. Peter would even fight for him later tonight. But Jesus would order him to put away his sword when Judas brought the authorities.

It has turned into a horrid night.  And they ran away … even Peter denied him and ran away.

It was far more difficult, far more threatening, far more traumatic then they had ever expected. Everything was wonderful and now it was all crashing down on them.

Where is God in all of this? Why has God forsaken them?  This was God’s idea, so why isn’t God freeing Jesus?!

If God isn’t going to help, we will just fight them they thought … but Jesus wouldn’t let them. And besides they wouldn’t last long against Pilate’s troops. If they can’t fight, then they responded in the only way left. They fled.

And Jesus was deserted by his inner circle… except …

Mary stayed and shadowed his every move. He was the Messiah. She was sure of that.  She neither fled nor fought. She stayed. She remained. She believed. She stood at the cross … still believing. She believed at the tomb. She was the first …

Our natural response to trauma is to flee or to fight. If get sick we fight. We muster every doctor, every nurse, ever bit of technology to cure us. But if there is no cure, what’s left but to give up and to flee into ourselves and deny the inevitable or reject the world. And where is God? Why isn’t God helping us? We can’t even flee to God … God seems to be no where … just a myth.

We loose our home. We loose a loved one. We see a terrible crime. We want to fight. But if that cannot be done, then what?

Can we just flee from the reality of it and live in sweet denial? It doesn’t matter. There’s nothing we can do about it.

Where is God?

Mary knew where God was. She drew no sword. She did not hide that she knew Jesus. She was just a woman, easily ignored. But she knew.

Even at the Seder, she finally understood what Jesus understood.

God can seem absent, gone, non-existent in our loneliest moment. We are overwhelmed and cannot think or act clearly. We strike out or we curl up. We erect strong fortifications around our souls to keep out reality. And we can’t feel God anymore.

But Mary believed. She had faith that God was there: in Jesus’ anguish, in her grief, in the disciples’ fear. And God in all of these, was saying “Have faith. Have faith and this too shall pass. Have faith and the kingdom will come. Have faith and listen to me when I spoke to you in Galilee and in Jerusalem. Have faith and remember my parables. Have faith and walk the journey I walked. Have faith. I am here. The Kingdom has come.”

Do not fight. Do not flee. Have faith. Live as Jesus lived. New life is waiting…

God’s grace and love be with you …

Amen.