Today- Good Friday. Reflecting- what’s the meaning of going beyond in faith? Oh the rings and rungs of our lives!
Climbing one rung a ladder is usually quite safe. Reaching the top rungs of a ladder in order to do some job is another matter. Being suspended high up while one tetters and totters on one of those last rungs can be a bit unnerving. To justify being here, it better be important! What’s THAT important? Here toward the top, we seek to balance the quirks of the job and the necessity for safe steady position.
The rings of an old tree are something like rungs on a ladder. Standing above a stump, dancing with my granddaughter, we stop, stoop, and see all the rings. We can count, space, interpret them. The stump of a tale of a tree’s life becomes our completed story we can too easily tuck away while moving gravitating toward what’s known and expected – remaining on the safe rung and staying within the ring of the known. Now imaginatively reverse the orientation of the story. Look at the core center point of this stump’s tale.
Each new ring is separated by a year’s material growth. At any point in the tale of this tree’s life growing beyond the last ring is like leaving behind a safe and secure known rung on a ladder. For all growth there is tettering and tottering into the new stuff of life requiring fresh different balancing. As they are cutting ancient oaks to be used at Notre-Dame, each of these stumps reveals a story of young trees that flexed, adapted, and adjusted to new, changing, and unknown conditions of life in its forest of yesteryear. Now they’ll be the structural support for a new sanctuary space of the Holy for future generations! Life in the grain of the wood! From the Gospel of Thomas in passage 77: “Split a piece of wood — I am there.” The tale of a stump is our tale of redemption.
At the cross Jesus of Nazareth faced an assured painful death. It looked like he stepped up and over the last rung of the ladder of life and took the great tumble into oblivion beyond the ring of the known. It didn’t end. There are still and forever more rings to the circle of life that has a centering point in the origin our Sacred Source. For any of us who’ve just left the last ring of security and the known behind in order to continue journeying into this living presence of the HOLY, there’s something of this tettering and tottering involved as we find our balancing and footing in New Life shared with others. Jesus said “It is finished.” He drew his last breath and left the last ring of the known behind him. He let go. May we each find New Life in this faith and courage in love. It’s THAT important!
“It is finished: three views.
- One, it’s all over.” All is lost.
- Two, I’ve left this last rung or ring, now I commend my spirit to this unfolding which I can’t define, but yet I trust in faith.
- Three, I have faithfully in love accomplished that to which I’ve been called.
I believe options two and three are always in all things open to each of us. Some tettering, tottering, risk, and vulnerability – Yes! From beginning to end (first ring of life to the “last” ring of “life”: There’s WAY more…beyond. “It is finished:” THE UNKNOWABLE NEW BEGINNING! We danced on the stump. “I am the Lord of the Dance…I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be…”
Stumped? Stop. Stoop. See. Dance! “Split a piece of wood — I am there.” By grace new footings will be revealed.