Archive for September 25th, 2008

A Single Monk

September 25, 2008

I earlier shared the story of my conversation with a monk at Mar Saba Monastery in the Judean desert. For me, it was both an oasis of rest (it really is in a desert) and an oasis of truth. We had spent the morning traveling, with our guide also giving us a political commentary – which though appreciated, easily becomes a rant in which you want to say, “OK. I get your point already.”

America has had its share (maybe more than) of political seasons. Nothing here rivals the pain and difficulty of the people living in the Holy Land. Their struggles have been around longer, at great human cost, and are daily present. Were it not for the 24 hour news cycle in America – our political season would be far less bothersome.

But I know the pain that many have during political seasons. Some conversations simply become impossible. The animosity I found towards our president among many of the residents of the Holy Land made conversation difficult (unless I simply joined the rant). Of course, you could join the rant. But when you have come to make a pilgrimage to Christ ranting is simply not on the agenda. Christ had little to say about the injustice of Roman rule. It is not that Roman rule was just – but that He represented a kingdom that trumped anything Rome ever dreamed of. It’s for the same reason that a single monk could say, “I have no enemies.”

Such a statement can only be made because you have seen the fullness of the Kingdom and nothing offers any rivalry. God is God and that is that.

I do not mean to suggest that justice in this world is to be ignored by Christians. We must speak the truth, regardless of consequence. But we must also speak the truth to ourselves – that regardless of consequence – the Kingdom of God has come in Christ and there is nothing the world can do to make it not so.

The very difficult task of forgiving our enemies – by the resurrection of Christ as the Church’s hymns sing – is also the very difficult task in believing the resurrection in a manner that is not removed from the world in which we live. Every breath we take, every grain of sand upon which we walk, all that exists – exists solely because of Pascha (Christ’s resurrection). His resurrection is not a footnote in history but the very reason there is any history. I can forgive by the resurrection because it is my very being and the being of everyone around me – even though they may not realize it or act accordingly.

I can say far more on the preceding paragraph, and undoubtedly will. The question I will place is: What part of the resurrection of Christ do you not understand? I will offer answers in the coming days.