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April is coming to a close. I though we could look back and review. As we do so, let’s remember that the stories of old help up to navigate current narratives. Now.
We begin April with April Fool’s Day. Odd start, I know, but it’s a day that has its roots in many traditions. It used to harken to the first day of the new year when we could play and have fun. We shed the usual seriousness of life and shed that which no longer served to come into the new year with a fresh start. Starting new with a beginner’s, or child’s, mind.
It is a time to celebrate a world turned upside down. Chaos and mayhem. Foolishness.
But a world turned upside down allows us to see the world in a different and new way. We feel a fool because everything we understood seems to make no sense. The Fool steps onto the path with no idea how to navigate. We must simply trust the path until understanding come.
Then, we move into the time of Easter where we begin to learn how better to navigate the path. The story here is the story of living, being human, and the struggles that come with being human.
Everything is going along swimmingly. We have a triumphant entry into Jerusalem where the people call out and celebrate the coming waving palms and singing songs. It doesn’t take long for that call to turn to a cry for blood…
We experience anger (the temple) and self doubt. “Oh God, take this cup away from me.” Betrayal. Denial.
An innocent man is tried, tortured, and killed.
We understand this in our daily lives. Perhaps not in such extremes, but we’ve felt triumph and betrayal. We’ve felt tried and tortured.
We’ve felt the deepest loss. Grief and pain and loss and anguish. We’ve been overcome by our own demons.
We’ve all looked at the Mystery of Death. Is Jesus gone? Where has Jesus gone? We can not know. It’s part of the Mystery. Where is Jesus on those days before the resurrection? It is said that he is guiding lost souls. I like that. Love, compassion, and forgiveness even in death.
And then there is hope yet again in Resurrection. Jesus lives. This is echoed in the hope of April when the spring flowers bloom after the turning inward of winter. Resurrection helps us to understand the Mystery. There is something on “the other side”.
In closing April, we find Saint George’s Day. He’s best known for the slaying of a dragon. The story goes: there is a dragon that must be fed a young maiden each day. Eventually, the king’s daughter is due to be sacrificed and the king offers a reward to anyone who slays the dragon to save his daughter. George (who is a soldier) takes up the challenge and slays the dragon.
I’m pretty sure it’s a metaphor, but who am I to say there were no dragons to be slain in the 4th century?
Jacopo Tintoretto painting of Saint George at the National Gallery, London
I do know that we all carry our own dragons. Our own wild and untamed sides.
In my extensive research on dragons (I mean, remember that I am the girl in love with the Harry Potter books and I was reading long before that) there is always a wild side. I’ve found that most of the time, dragons just want their due. A meal to eat and acknowledgement. Maybe they’re kind of like us. Just just seek attention. Sometimes they need to be set free. Sometimes befriended. Sometimes tamed.
But there’s always an unpredictable side to dragons, even the “tame” ones. St. George reminds us that sometimes we must pull out our swords and lances of courage and faith in the adversity of suffering to live in Peace in our selves, the world, and with God.
We must tame our own dragons of those deep emotions that rise up in times of uncertainty.
I know these times are uncertain. This month in particular has given us the tools to cope. Our years together has given us the tools to cope. We have knowledge to pass on to our kids and others. How to maneuver challenging times?
Yes there is chaos and mayhem. Yes, we are fools. Yes, we have our dragons to tame (I don’t advocate the practice of slaying dragons).
But we have love. We have faith. We have courage. We have been through the story of triumph, fall, and resurrection together over the years with our church community, with our friends, and in our own lives. We must be strong (hold up your sword, metaphorically of course) to live in peace and hold to our truth. To be a beacon of courage, love, and compassion. Especially when it’s most hard.