Monday, March 4, 2013

so chocolate bar

I love chocolate.  Especially good dark chocolate - but I'll take any kind.

So when I heard the expression "That's so chocolate bar!" used by these little boys, I knew just what that must mean. 

You all may well have seen this already - the story seems to be on its way to going viral.  I hope it does. Having made the Today Show will not hurt a bit.

chocolate bar book for a cure

This child, Dylan, who is six, has written a little book to raise money to help his friend Jonah, who has a rare disease.   When I read about it today, he had already raised $93,000.  He plans to raise a million. 

And here his parents were thinking bake sales.

I am grateful to have found this today.  It's been a difficult week for quite a number of people I know.   Then there is the news.   Too many stories of people being truly horrible to each other.   It's good to read about the ones who are acting in love.

The older I get, the more I realize both the depth of the evil that is possible in humanity and the astonishing good of which we are capable.  All of us.  Hearing some stories of things that happened here in Haiti, stories that  are being passed around now that Baby Doc is finally on trial, just blow my mind.  It seems like something out of a history book, except I now know people who were there.

front page of yesterday's newspaper - Les minutes de l'audition de Jean-Claude Duvalier

There is plenty more of that  happening all over the world. 

Every time some little - or not so little -  interpersonal nastiness takes place, it's a shadow of participation in that larger evil.  It is just easier to justify, I suppose.  To cover.   Certainly to get away with. 

And then I remember once again that this is all wrapped up in the paschal mystery.  

It's Lent.  It's a time for repentance, for turning around, for seeking a closer relationship with God - which means seeking a closer relationship with each other.   We meet Jesus daily in the people around us.   What does that look like?  How do we, in fact, treat Jesus? speak to him, not in a church, but in our daily interactions? Holy Week is coming.   The evil in the world is on display during that week.  It is not too surprising that some people prefer to skip it and go straight to Easter.  Even Easter dinner - skip the resurrection - it might remind you that you have to die in order to be resurrected.

But of course that's just it.  There is no point to Easter without Holy Week. 

OK, well, maybe the chocolate.

But even chocolate can't make evil go away, tempting as it might be to try sometimes.

When things get to looking evil, Holy Week comes along to remind us that evil and death will never have the last word.  Whatever it is, God can take it and turn it inside out and bring life where there should be no possibility of such.  You can't gloss over the horror of crucifixion any more than you can gloss over what happens here and now.  We try.  We can't. And we don't have to.  God lets us stare it right in the face.  Then and only then is there resurrection.

Sometimes things like Dylan's chocolate bar book remind me that there is more to our story, that God is at work in and through us in the most creative and unexpected ways.  As with Dylan and Jonah, I could tell stories of serious illness - and stories of friends who step up in surprising, beautiful ways.  When I hear a story of cruelty, I can also tell a story of a young deacon who is willing to move into a house with no running water or even a well so she can minister in an area in need.  So many of those stories are untold.  Maybe we should be sharing them, even if our stories don't make the Today Show.   God's work bringing life to the world is just the good news we need.

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