Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

P1020582We ripped fabric for the cross.

The house filled with the sound of tearing, then came the rhythmic hum of the sewing machine and then the hiss of the iron and the soft sound of voices.

Soon there were piles of bright thread on the floor and stacks of colored strips, four inches wide — blue, green, red, yellow, black and white. Then we sewed the same-colored strips together. We ironed down the seams and folded the strips into piles of looping colors, each now thirty feet long.

It looked like we were making streamers for the Olympics. We weren’t. The colored strips, representing the nations, will be braded together and draped on the cross at the front of the church at Easter this year.  We have it in our minds — Easter is for everyone!

Steven Chan emailed me this week. His Chinese Bible study group wants to use more space at the church. I emailed back, “Yes, we’d be glad to work with you on expanding your use of the building.”

Ricardo Rivas, one of the leaders of the Hispanic congregation which meets in our building told me this week that their start time is 2 pm on Sundays. We’ll change that on the sign.

When we met to do the Easter basket project on a recent Saturday, the family from Sri Lanka was there, as well as black and white and Hispanic children. The nations had gathered to care for the poor.

On Easter we plan to read the scripture in several langages, Japanese, French, English, Spanish, Portugese and Chinese.

The Sunday after Easter, when we celebrate the communion, and our leader from Jamaica will prepare the elements. One of the members of our food team, from Peru, will hand out the bags of food after the service.

Last week my new Hispanic friend Hugo and I worked on the banners that will grace the staircases to the front door of the church. Hugo and I have a lot in common, a love for mechanical things that go fast, and a passion for all kinds of people to know that God loves them.

The first banner we will put up on the front staircase of the church,  it says, “You’ll fit here!”

They will.

I slid the hammer under the nail in the cross and pulled. The claw slipped off the head of the nail and popped off.

The problem was that the last nail that I pulled was stuck in the claw and prevented the one I was trying to get  from  being hooked by the hammer claw.

I knocked the offending nail out of the claw and tried again. This time the nail popped out of the wood with a light rip and fell on the carpet. I thought about how much it would hurt if each of these nails had been pounded into my hands.

Pretty soon I had a pile of nails scattered on the floor and a clean cross with no nails in it.

Then I slid the big pieces of the cross over a supporting pole, and when the fifth piece clanked down on the fourth, there it was, a clean cross in an empty room, ready for Easter.

It’s a bit of work, getting nails out of crosses, and getting the stuff out that has been pounded into people too.

I got a really fun chance to talk to an amazing young women recently who has been pulling out  nails.

At one point, after we’d gone back and forth a bit, she looked out at me from under her beautiful, dark makeup and smiled.  Through her quick smile,  her identity darted out into the room, then disappeared again behind her eye-liner.

“I don’t talk much,” she said.

I was pulling nails again.

I’ve thinking lately about how hard it is to extract feelings, especially the ones nailed into our psyche’s by other people’s bad choices, the feelings that feel like they were pounded into our flesh as we hung on a hard, wooden cross somebody else nailed us on.

Why does it take so much work to get a clean cross?

In the first place, it’s pretty hard to find someone who doesn’t pass the emotions we reveal to them through their own experiential grid. When they hear us, they hear themselves. Most people never, ever get beyond this. They don’t get us because they are always too busy getting themselves.

And if that didn’t make it hard enough, the total and almost complete inability of our kind to be objective,  our understanding of someone else is always compounded by their confusion about who they are and all the misleading things they reveal about themselves.

When a person is extremely, horrifically angry, they most often present themselves with extreme composure covered by a lavish layer of deceptive, raging calm.

And when a person has a nail of abandonment pounded into their palms by an absentee parent, they most often lay very, very low in public.

And when they have the ring-shanked nail of family addiction pounded into their skulls, they usually walk around with a self-constructed shield of complete and absolute apparent normalcy.

When they have a spike of self-hatred in their own hearts, yet they eat dinner and take dessert with a smile too.

When a pike of confusion divides their opinions, they tend to make very strong statements of extreme conviction.

This is common. It breaks my heart, because this doesn’t work, at all, for anyone. Silence is not an effective strategy for living. An undisclosed life  is not a good life. It’s a torment; it is a total emotional disaster, this remaining  unknown to each other.

I’ve gotten to thinking about this.

After all, it’s Easter.

Think of it as nail pulling season.