Growing up on a farm in rural Oregon, my brother and I often had a second-hand Christmas. The gifts under our tree were toys that our single mom found at yard sales or Goodwill and wrapped in humble, ordinary newspaper. The tree itself she cut down from the side of a road and hauled home in the back of our truck.
The first time a friend recommended the new miniseries The Chosen, I quickly dismissed it. I’ve seen plenty of movies about the life of Jesus – some good, some bad, many boring. But it’s hard to find any good entertainment to watch these days – especially as a family. So by the second or third time someone recommended it, I popped some corn, gathered my kids and asked my husband to figure out how to stream it.
Mercy – the one word I find myself repeatedly praying this week. Lord, have mercy. Have mercy on our medical workers and migrants and people living in refugee resettlement camps. Have mercy on the poorest of the poor who live without doctors in the developing world. Have mercy on our government officials and grocery store clerks and farmers and elderly and frail. Lord, have mercy on us.
I no longer saw the cross as a symbol of faith reflecting the risen Lord. I saw it as the instrument of torture for which it was designed. I saw how it has been used by the church to torture others.
Like many, I woke up on Easter to the tragic news of the terrorist bombing in Sri Lanka. Having buried a daughter and my mother, I can only imagine the grief gripping those who lost children, spouses or parents in the blasts. Whole families were obliterated, but the victims included more than the terrorists’ targets.