On this Good Friday, I invite you to contemplate the final words. . .What are the final words we hear in our life; in our relationships; each day? And, contemplate and reflect on the final words in Jesus' life. . .
Peter: I did not!
The people (us): Crucify him! Crucify him!
Mary, Mary and Mary: Reverent silence.
Pilate: (On a sign over Jesus' head, and which he refused to change later) Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.
The soldiers: Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.
Jesus: It is finished.
As we enter the final wilderness of this weekend before our Easter Resurrection, I offer to you my reflection on a wilderness I experienced as it was published in our Church Lenten Reflection booklet:
On March 18, 2008, Tuesday in Holy Week, we leave the United States for a month in Russia to adopt our son.
We arrive in Moscow early in the morning of the next day. It is cold: the air is cold; the people are cold; I am cold with fear and anxiety. A month is a long time to be away.
We are picked up on Thursday for a tour by our Moscow coordinator, Ana. We walk down Tverskaya from our hotel to arrive at the gates of Red Square where we are able to see St. Basil's and the Kremlin. We tour the nine chapels of St. Basil's, coming upon a service in one. Ana ushers us inside this chapel filled with incense, icons and no pews. We watch and listen, leaving as the priest intones "The Body of Christ."
On Good Friday morning, I awaken at 2:00 a.m. The eight-hour time difference is difficult to adjust to. Everyone at home is just preparing for the Maundy Thursday services and Vigil. I hold my own vigil in a chair by the window, watching the snow fall, journal in my lap, reflecting on our separation from all things familiar: home, the English language, the American flag, smoke-free spaces. And then I reflect on the changes that are coming: my routines, my free time, my heart.
Before sunrise on Easter morning, we land in Krasnoyarsk. We watch our Easter sunrise as we drive from the airport through the Siberian tundra to the city. Once settled, we walk to the chapel on the hill. I am unsettled to see so much emptiness in the eyes of the people we pass. But, it is the emptiness I see in the eyes of the youth that haunts me still. Who talks to them about God?
The Tuesday of Easter week, everyone at home is on an Easter high. Meanwhile, in Krasnoyarsk, we head off to court with sweaty palms and upset stomachs. After over an hour presenting ourselves to the judge, we are postponed due to an error by the Ministry of Education. We leave court, without our "Da" without our "Yes," still in our wilderness.
Thank you God that not only did the above wilderness end positively, but that our wilderness of Jesus' death on the Cross ends positively and triumphantly with His Easter Resurrection.
Pie Jesu. . .Grant unto Thy servant eternal rest.