My wood stove, set up to provide heat in the severe -40°C winter worked wonders. It even provided hot water for coffee in the morning and tea throughout the day. It was not without it’s challenges as the stove pipe got so hot that it melted the plastic tarps of the shelter around the stove.
Holy Week is our opportunity to remember and learn ever more from Jesus story. Jesus’ story is a life full of communication from God to us, in a way we can understand.
God tried to communicate to us with Word, creating a good creation. We messed it up, with trying to be smarter than we are and blaming others for the results. Kicked out of paradise we even became murderers, for a ‘good’ start.
God tried to communicate to us with the Law, we turned it into control of others.
God tried to communicate to us with the prophets, and we thought they were crazy, because they really were, trying to embody God’s Word does that to humans.
I rebuilt the damaged tarp sections, put in a heat shield and a remote thermometer. Now gets as hot as 70°C without problems.
God sent his Son, a full life story lived that we can learn. Jesus came to live, teach, heal, and do remarkable things like calming the chaos of the waters.
God exists beyond time, matter, limits. Now Jesus has all the limits of a human. Paul says it well: Jesus emptied himself of being other than human, and became limited as a human.
The real purpose of Jesus’ life was his death. That’s this week’s story.
No one really listened at first, and those that did usually got it all wrong. Listen to the parade as Jesus enters Jerusalem. They think that Jesus is God’s way of giving them control again of Jerusalem, maybe. That’s their hope.
Then things change.
The harsh winter slowly gives way to cool spring temperatures, and the 2000° C inside the furnace became way too hot in the shelter. Always the thermometer showed a max of 70°. It dawned finally on me that the thermometer could read no hotter than 70°C but the actual temperature could be much more!
After the triumphant entry parade into Jerusalem, things go downhill fast and hard. Jesus is betrayed, deserted, tried, denied, whipped, condemned, mocked, tortured, abandoned, and murdered on a cross.
There is no greater measure of suffering.
God came to live and die exactly like this. Why?
God came to make clear: God understands our suffering, even if our measure seems to have an upper limit, God has no limits, God understands us, our pain, our sin, our suffering, our death.
God lived it to show us God’s intent for us.
As Jesus dies, he forgives those that mock, torture and kill him.
This is what God wants us to be to each other. Not sinners, destroyers, scape-goaters, or mockers, torturers, murderers, or chaos makers, not even people who cannot listen to others pain and suffering and not know what to do.
We know God knows our suffering.
In our suffering we experience what others suffer. We know what we most need when we suffer is forgiveness, love and not to be abandoned.
We learn this so that we can give God’s gifts of forgiveness, love and being present to others as they suffer.
God came as Jesus to show us God’s goodness and love for us has no limits. God’s forgiveness has no limits. We may not easily hear, listen or understand, but we have Jesus story handed from generation to generation. We can always learn more if we pay attention.
Jesus’ story is God’s new limitless thermometer by which we can measure what really goes on in this world. There’s lots of heat. There’s even more love, forgiveness, and compassion than we are ever capable of measuring.
This week, we remember, we listen as we can, we learn anew as we are able.
From Jesus story we know and trust, no matter what we do, what we succeed at or fail at, God understands our yearning, our chaos, our sufferings …
and God always loves, forgives and is present with us …
calling us to be exactly that for other people,
with Jesus as our model,
a model that has no limits.