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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nunquam non paratus

It's Tuesday in Easter Week and I find myself still pushing through the fog of the aftermath of Holy Week and Easter. I suspect most of it could be credited to the lingering effects of the postprandial stupor I ate myself into on Easter Day.

I mean, just the slice of baklava alone must have contained a pound of walnuts. I don't even want to get into the part about the honey and phyllo.

You'll understand then, that the following hymn, taken from the Orthodox matins service for Tuesday evening in Easter week, hit me like a ton of bricks:
Behold, the Bridegroom cometh at midnight, and blessed is the servant whom he shall find awake. But he whom shall be neglectful is verily unworthy. Behold, therefore, my soul, beware, lest thou fallest into deep slumber, and the door of the kingdom be closed against thee, and thou be delivered to death. But be thou wakeful, crying, "Holy, holy, holy! are Thou, O God. By the power of the Cross, have mercy on us.
Nunquam non paratus.

Never unprepared.

It's a consistent theme in the teachings of Jesus.

Well, if Jesus were to come today, I would be totally, completely unprepared. I suspect I would be much like the Disciple Thomas who missed out on the first appearance of Jesus to the disciples. He was probably out running errands, pushing himself through the fog of all that had happened over the weekend and trying to make sense of it all.

Truth be told, if Jesus came into my living room this morning, I'd want to look at the wounds in his hands and feet and put my hands into his side. Well, for one thing, it would be pretty unbelievable for Jesus to show up in my living room on a Tuesday morning in the first place.

Mostly, however, it would be because I am so "non paratus".

Color me "verily unworthy".

Except, here's the thing: I really don't believe that Jesus has carried me this far, every step of the way, just to drop me on my head because I am not completely ready this morning.

Everything I know about Jesus tells me that His Sacred Heart has much more compassion and understanding and mercy than that.

Not that I don't get his message. I mean, the imagery of the "Bridegroom" is not coincidental. I suppose there's a reason it's call it "The Rapture". The thought of this never ceases to raise in me a wicked little giggle.

Most days, I vacillate between being completely ready to meet Jesus and so unwilling to leave this wonderful life and my amazing family and friends. There's so much yet to be done in the gift of this ministry I have been given, that, no matter how wonderful heaven is going to be, I can't even begin to imagine leaving it all.

If Jesus were to come today, I suspect I'd be more like Mary Magdalene at the tomb.

In the lectionary readings for today, we learn about her encounter with the Risen Lord from John, Chapter 20, verses 11-18:

Jesus appears to Mary - Douglas Blanchard*


Mary Magdalene stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.
They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him."

When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?"
Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."

Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, `I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Mary was totally "non paratus" for this revelation of Jesus, and still, he came to her and made her the first to witness his resurrection and the first evangelist.

So much for being 'unworthy'. Verily. 

Me? I'm going to be like Thomas and Mary - just push through the fog of the day and do what needs to be done, no matter how tedious or odious or mundane.

Last night, I completed my presentation for Pui Lan's class this afternoon, and my presentation for Patrick Cheng's class tomorrow morning is about 75% complete. I have to check a few more sources, tighten up the language, and off it goes later this afternoon.

First, I'm going to take my pup Theo (AKA "Mr. Wonderful") out for a long, leisurely walk around Memorial Drive. When we come back, I'll heat up the last of the Tomato Basil Garlic Soup I have in the freezer, add a few slices of the left over lamb to it and have it with the rest of the left over corn bread and a nice, hot cup of tea.

I will no doubt slip Theo a few slivers of the lamb. He'll be totally unprepared for this treat I have planned for him, but he'll be ready. Trust me on this.

If I happen to meet Jesus while I'm walking on Memorial Drive, I'll be likewise unprepared but totally ready. I'll say, "Hey" and "How are ya?" and "Thanks so much for the gift of Easter. It's pretty awesome."

And then, I'll invite him to walk back with me and have lunch.

I don't know, does Jesus even like Tomato Basil Garlic Soup? I mean, it is homemade. Oh, but he'll absolutely LOVE the cornbread. Trust me on this. It's pretty amazing.

I should probably pick up the newspapers and magazines that are around the apartment before I leave. Just stack them up in a more orderly fashion, is all, so it looks a bit more presentable. Probably rinse out the bathroom sink and give the toilet bowl a swish.

You know, the way my mother taught me. Just in case Jesus does come for lunch and, for whatever reason, has to use the facilities. He probably won't but, well, just in case.

I'm not so much concerned about being considered "verily unworthy."

I just wouldn't want him to think I was totally unprepared.

* To learn more about this picture from the "Gay Passion of Christ" Series, visit Jesus In Love.

4 comments:

Elisabeth said...

I loved this!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Lis. Just a few musings as I pushed through the fog of Easter Tuesday. Glad you liked it.

Daisy said...

I think that Jesus loves each of us too much to be worried about stuff like dust, messy papers, or a dirty bathroom! What he really wants is for us to have an open heart and to greet him in each other, and to grow in awareness. I don't think Jesus goes along with all the "unworthy" and "unprepared" and "closed doors" ... that's our "stuff", not his.

That soup and cornbread sounds deliciious btw!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I agree, Daisy. And, the soup and corn bread were absolutely YUMMY