Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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Gethsemane: Facing Fear

The rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, planted it’s seeds in fertile ground toward the end of my agnostic years. I loved the story and the music so much, I bought the album and learned most of the songs by heart. So here, I’m re-posting my favorite from last year’s series.

Anything is Possible!

This post is part of my week long series revisiting the movie Jesus Christ Superstar. Thanks for joining the journey!

Ted Neely’s powerful performance as Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, gets me at the core of my being, every time.

Seeing the human fear and the weariness Jesus feels in this scene inspires me and even comforts me. He died for us in spite of his fear. His powerful connection with his loving Father gave him courage, but it was far from easy for him. Otherwise, He would not have asked for a reprieve.

This scene reminds me that each of us can deepen our connection with God, to give us courage to face our own trials, large and small.

We can ask God questions: Do you really want me to do this?

We can ask for help: Okay, God. Show me how. Help me feel your presence…

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To My Wayward Children

Rising pair

Fiercely agnostic in my twenties,
Haunted by dreams of abduction
By conservative Christians,
I’d pretend to play along
Whilst planning my escape.
They could not brainwash me!

As the years passed,
I met the Good Shepherd,
Saint Francis of Assisi,
Hildegarde of Bingen,
Teresa of Avila…

And I learned that all Christians aren’t the same
Some have minds
Gently open
Curiously listening
Loving without an agenda.

And all Buddhists aren’t the same
And all Muslims aren’t the same.
And all Pagans aren’t the same

I see the rebellious pathways
In my twenty something offspring,
Understanding, now
The fear of my mother,
The faith of my father.

I want to be a bridge.
Not a barrier.
I want you to know,
My indigo children:

I believe the Creator
Planted miracles
In this paradise planet,
Medicine in the plants,
Life in the water,
Magic in the rocks.

And all is a gift
From the Creator,
Who you may call
God
Goddess
Great Spirit
Mother
Father
Source

We may not agree, exactly
But we are more alike than different.

And I will love you forever.

 

 


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Jesus, Judas, and the Deeper Story

This week, I’m revisiting the movie, Jesus Christ Superstar.  You can read more about the film and the role it played in my life here.

As I experience these scenes thirty of so years later, I understand more. I understand some of the struggle Judas must have felt, so well depicted in the performance of Carl Anderson. I also appreciate the modern day instruments of war framing the dream scene:

 

Today, the last supper scene sharpens my awareness of the self- righteous complacency we can fall into with, “Always hoped that I’d be an apostle…”

But Jesus brings us back to a complicated reality. He knows the deeper story as he orders Judas to go and betray him. We see some of Jesus’ human side and feel the turmoil, and the love, between Judas and Jesus.

 


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Mary Magdalene and Me

This week, I’m revisiting the movie, Jesus Christ Superstar.  You can read more about the film and the role it played in my life here.

Of all the songs in this movie, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” drew me in most intensely, during my agnostic twenties. I questioned: Who is this Jesus guy really? And who is this woman who doesn’t know how to love him? What’s it all about?

I related to her confusion. The song implies that Mary Magdalene first seems to consider her relationship with Jesus from a romantic, or sexual, frame of reference.  This is understandable, not because she was a prostitute as she was historically, and wrongly, labeled to discredit her, but because she was human. 

As I watched and listened to her song, I saw that Jesus was like no other man Mary had encountered. Her love for him was different from any thing she’d felt before. She was afraid of the power of that  love. I understood her fear of being overpowered by love. I understood her fear of losing herself in his love.

And yet, she was drawn to him, by his goodness and his kindness.

And so was I.

 


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Jesus Christ Superstar: Palm Sunday

Palm crosses

Yesterday I shared about not being good at knot tying. So I was pleased to remember the steps to making palm crosses for Palm Sunday service. I had to find an old dried up palm cross and unwrap it to get one of the final steps. Once I get something, I keep practicing to use it or lose it, so I made lots of palm crosses yesterday afternoon.

In my early twenties, I was staunchly agnostic, valuing science much more than religion. During that time, I saw the musical film, Jesus Christ Superstar.

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Christ_Superstar_%28film%29)

I fell in love with music of the film which had the feel of a hippie rock opera. I bought the album and listened to it over and over, singing along. I watched the movie on TV a couple times over the years. It told the story of Jesus and his friends during the days leading up to his crucifixion. Though some may say the movie/play does not follow the Bible accurately, it told the story in a way that appealed to me, in a way I could relate to.

The music of Jesus Christ Superstar softened my heart to the story of the man called Jesus. My journey back to him picked up speed after the birth of my son when I was 29, followed by a short lived but challenging job with the Department of Social Services. I’ll always be thankful to that job for driving me back to church. I’m also thankful to the open minded  Episcopal priest who accepted my questions and hesitations with reason and understanding. Many years later, I took my daughter to see the musical performed live by a local theater company. I sang the songs softly, so as not to embarrass her too much.

This week being holy week, I thought I’d share with you video clips of songs from Jesus Christ Superstar.

This clip, depicting Jesus being praised by a crowd waving palm branches, has the best sound, though the video quality is a bit compromised, so I hope you enjoy the music.


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Coexist with Love

Hearts in Hand

Both of my kids are in their twenties. I worry about the spiritual paths they now choose. I did my best to be a good mom. I took them to a church where they were loved and nurtured. Should I have been less open-minded, and more strict when they were teenagers?

It helps to remember what a rebellious agnostic I was in my twenties.

I was totally turned off by the Christian TV evangelicals of the 1970’s. I used to have nightmares about them hunting me down and taking me to a compound where I had to play along whilst planning my escape.

So, I’ve tried hard not to be like those scary Christians. I want to be a bridge, not a barrier. I respect the beliefs of others, as long as they don’t hurt anybody.

That respect comes, in part, from a poem I discovered in my searching youth about a group of blind men and an elephant, by John Godfrey Saxe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoENAD7OCiI


Each blind man experienced the same elephant in a different way. This poem shaped my philosophy about religion. It’s what I offer to people who are steadfast that their way is the only way or prone to unproductive arguments. I find it helpful for those who need acceptance as they search for their truth.

I find God through Jesus. I love Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who loves us all. I also find God in nature, when I marvel at the beauty of a full moon, the vastness of the ocean or the magnificence of a forest. Saint Francis of Assisi helped bridge my love of nature with my love of Jesus.

I want to be a bridge, respecting the rights of others to choose their own paths.

(This is a lot easier with someone who is not my offspring.)

I want people to know that there is such a thing as an open-minded Christian, and I’m not the only one.

When we condemn,  judge, and criticize, we are likely to become barriers.

When we love, accept, and respect, we can each become a bridge.

The song, “They’ll Know we are Christians by our Love” came to me as a teenager when my second  boyfriend took me to and Episcopal youth group where they sang it as their closing. The memory of this song survived my period of rebellious agnosticism, like a seed planted in hardening soil. When I heard it again in my early thirties, at a church where love and acceptance softened my fear of judgment, I knew I was in the right place. A place to grow.

Below is a version of the song dedicated to Saint Kateri Tekawitha, “The Lily of the Mohawks”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kateri_Tekakwitha

My kids have agreed, without begging or overt bribery, to come to church with me on Christmas Eve. (After all, I did Christmas church for my parents in my twenties.) When they come, they will find love waiting there for them. Who knows what seeds may grow.