I am on the other side, now, but the passage through Holy Week, in my solitude, was intense. The up/down/way down/way way up emotional and spiritual journey of Jesus possessed me. From his palm-strewn parade into Jerusalem to hanging on a cross to die, descending into the underworld to liberate the dead, and rising anew in divine life, I walked along. Now, on this side of the Easter Divide, I have passed through some invisible veil and stepped into a new world.
We are living in an apocalyptic time — a time when it seems the world is ending. COVID has us in its grip. For me, as for all of us, it is striking home. My daughter, Emmy, is recovering from presumed-COVID. Our organization, Kairos Earth, has applied for federal funding to keep our staff on board. I haven’t seen my 90-year-old dad with dementia in over a month. He is fading. It’s all very real.
Looking further afield, I am struck that, just as the virus burst forth to wreak havoc upon human beings, so human populations have exploded in recent centuries, wreaking havoc upon other forms of life. What goes around, comes around. The ecological dis-balance caused by human populations “going viral” has many manifestations. We will feel consequences for a long time to come. It won’t be pretty.
And yet, after passing through the underworld, I feel a kind of deeper hope. The final chapter of the Bible is the Book of Revelation, a mystical account of the apocalyptic end of the world. Apocalypse, in this sense, though, does not mean a destructive disaster. Rather, in its Greek origin, it means a revelation, an unveiling. In this time, when the world as it we knew it has ended, we, too, are being offered a revelation. It is this:
We are one body.
Jesus knew, taught, and embodied this two thousand years ago. The apostle Paul preached it. Eight hundred years ago, St. Francis renewed it. Now it is our turn. What does this unveiling ask of us? Of me? Of you?
From the poustinia ~