Monday, 21 April 2014

Did you see what just happened?

Matthew 28:8-15 
Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.
  And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings’ he said. And the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.’
  While they were on their way, some of the guard went off into the city to tell the chief priests all that had happened. These held a meeting with the elders and, after some discussion, handed a considerable sum of money to the soldiers with these instructions, ‘This is what you must say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” And should the governor come to hear of this, we undertake to put things right with him ourselves and to see that you do not get into trouble.’ The soldiers took the money and carried out their instructions, and to this day that is the story among the Jews

Easter Sunday, after morning mass and chocolate madness, is usually a day of rest. 

This year I had the chance to meet up with some friends so found myself in in a bar in the city centre.  It was packed out with people enjoying what had been a warm Spring day and the peak of the Bank Holiday weekend. The music was loud and the voices called to each other in between the shrill multi-notes of mobile phones. Dress and hair style was as varied as could be imagined with tattoos and piercings suggesting a coming together of tribal families. There was a good humour about the place and I was quickly offered a seat (giving my age away a bit). 

With the struggle to have a conversation we went outside to the pavement area. Within minutes we were surrounded by people in dayglo security vests and people leading sniffer dogs marshalling a fast forming queue of people. It seems that there was a music event going on in the next building and this was only the start of the night's entertainment.

Sandwiched between the crowded bar and the growing line, people watching was unavoidable. Snatches of conversations overheard, friendship groups observed, fashion statements noted. The tensions grew between clubbers and security, impatient tapping of phones, printed tickets clasped tightly - prized possessions. Tonight was going to be one of the nights of their life. 

As one man sauntered past with a t-shirt featuring a broad gold cross with 'sinner' emblazoned across it my friend asked 'Do you think they know they have been redeemed?' 

 Well, no, they don't. But then, again, they didn't know they had been redeemed two thousand years ago. 

The day after the Sabbath celebrations it would have been equally as busy. The peoples from the Diaspora making plans to gather the caravans together. The varied languages crisscrossing the streets and squares of Jerusalem, catching up with friends, finalising deals, shopping from market stalls. Maybe the Romans holding some festival of their own for the coming of Spring, whilst the soldiers moved among the crowds keeping order. 

Who will have remembered the pitiful human dragged through the streets only days before? Who could have borne the hours of standing, watching the light and life drain away? Who would have cared for the bag of bones held in the arms of a weeping old woman?

Who would have ever imagined that this story had not ended with the sealing of the tomb and the abandonment by those who were his friends?

But not total abandonment..

By this time, only a handful of people knew that the promise had been kept. The ones who waited had nothing left to lose. The women witnesses held no authority despite their conviction. It would be a challenge even to convince their friends. 

The guards are suspected of covering their backs but the chance that the story would ever be believed was held at bay with money, underhandedness and the desire that power would stay with the status quo.

That desire still exists. The distractions change but the intent is the same. Who wants to believe that the world can be saved through sacrifice? Isn't it all about show, bravado, self-esteem and assertiveness?

Who wants to believe salvation begins in the silence of a desert garden? Isn't life lived in the fast lane, on the edge, for the moment?

The only people who believe in redemption are the witnesses, those who experience the Risen Jesus for themselves. However many they are it doesn't matter - redemption has happened. Unearned, unexpected. It doesn't depend on the who or what of who you are - it doesn't matter if you noticed or not - it's happened. 

The 'what next?' is an invitation. If the others can be convinced then they can come and see. Because Jesus is already on the move. He is going back to Galilee. Away from the city lights and power houses of authority to the beginning.

The people that surrounded us last night have their lives to live, no doubt good and hopeful lives. Whether or not they experienced the ritual of Holy Week, the joy of this early morning. They live redeemed lives. Lives that can be saved over and over again because that is what Jesus bartered his life for. 

If we are the witnesses we hope to be then we will live our lives in invitation. Offering the reconciliation of Galilee, the promise of forever, the relationship of love. 


Sunday, 20 April 2014

What you look like from the back

Matthew 28:1-10 

After the sabbath, and towards dawn on the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to visit the sepulchre. And all at once there was a violent earthquake, for the angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His face was like lightning, his robe white as snow. The guards were so shaken, so frightened of him, that they were like dead men. But the angel spoke; and he said to the women, ‘There is no need for you to be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said he would. Come and see the place where he lay, then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has risen from the dead and now he is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will see him.” Now I have told you.’ Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.
  And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings’ he said. And the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.’

A bit of an indulgence... Now and again a friend of mine, during a conversation will make the challenge, 'Make that into a blog post!'. So here we are.

We are both avid people watchers and often fight for the seat with the most panoramic view in cafes and restaurants. Generally this phrase is delivered (by said friend) as ' Do you think they know what they look like from the back?' and is aimed at people believing that they are dressed in the height of fashion. And they may well be. But from the back, wthout the benefit of a good long look in the mirror - things seem too tight, too short, too baggy, too wrong. 

Of course, it is all a matter of opinion - but people watchers are very good at having an opinion.

I developed a fondness for people watching in art school. One of my modules was Reportage - on-the-spot drawing. This meant wandering around the city- centre, shops, parks, museums and so on -  and drawing people. Then finding a quiet space or a talent for seeming to look one way whilst looking another, with a covert sketchbook and materials. Although, before now, serviettes, menus and flyers have served. 

As I reflect, I can see that I had a tendency for drawing people from the back. Queuing,with frustration or boredom, at the cash machine.  Weariness or enthusiasm for shopping or perusing windows or marveling at exhibits. Leaning over the side of the ferry, pensive or sickly? Mums in many moods pushing prams and dragging toddlers. The stance of a squash player as they deliver a mean backhand. And I love that moment at a party when a favourite song comes on and the women sashay through the tables calling to their friends to join in. Little children doing that do-see-doh with their hands behind their backs as they ask for just one more...

I realise that there's actually a lot (more than fashion sense) that you can learn 'from the back'. Whilst the face and the voice can pretend the body is less able. Body language makes up between 55% and 92% of communication and can be much more authentic. After all - who cares what you look like from the back?

What you look like from the back speak volumes. When you know the person, that intimately, there is no need to see their faces.

I imagine Jesus watching from the long shadows under a weeping olive tree as the women approach the tomb. Seeing the weariness in their steps, the way they lean on each other for support, holding each other back from their fears.

I imagine the women seeing the soliders lying in the dust. Hands over their heads and eyes tightly closed in terror, knees curled under them like infants. No sign of the mocking swagger now, no military bearing to challenge the angel of the Lord. 

As the angel turns away their fear, the women straighten, return to the dignity Jesus had given them with his acceptance and inclusion. Questioning gestures turn to embraces and thanksgiving raising of arms. 

It is too much. Can he really leave them with only the angel's reassurance?

What the women look like from the back draws Jesus close. He could leave them with a word and a prayer. But his pride in their faith brings him back into their arms. 

After the unbelievable and intimate joy of this meeting, the women race off head veils and shawls flying. 

What would they have looked like from the back?



The light went out. He was the Light, so that was weird; the paradox of being and not being was hard enough when he became human but this was beyond his poor brain’s understanding. Then he realised his brain couldn’t understand anything anymore. He was dead; the betrayal, torture and execution he had foretold had happened; his body devastated; broken beyond any ability to function. The valves in the chambers of his heart blasted open; his lungs like wet sea sponges sodden with fluid, the air sacs filled with black stagnant blood soaking up the redundant oxygen. The unwieldy drop from the cross had left its mark; marrow seeping from stress fractures in the once strong bones of his thighs. The cells that had rushed to heal the many cuts and bruises now surrendering to putrification and decay

He wasn’t sure what he had expected. A pause in time? There was something in that that would have been welcome after all the trials his recent life had caused him. But not all trials – there was so much joy that also belonged to his humanity – remembering his life; how he had grown; to see, to recognise; to name the world before him; and now for his tongue to shrivel in an agonised mouth; eyes to turn milky and hardened in their sockets. Remembering the uncoordinated mysteries of babyhood. Learning to touch, to hold, to create with tiny fingers and thumbs that had gradually become strong and callused. To hold on to his father’s same strong fingers as he had pulled himself to his feet and toddled across the kitchen floor. The spare frame of his body that had carried him out of the Galilee to an outlaw’s death twisting and contorting as the fluids in his joints calcified into stony crystals.

And no words; no thoughts to create words; no mouth to speak; no ears to hear.
Yet he was the Word; or was he? What was a God in a dead body? No different to any human corpse? His mother had not felt his presence, his friends had sobbed and wailed into their robes. He was dead. The inside of the tomb was black; he didn’t need to see - he knew this because his Father has turned away and that was the moment the whole of Creation had turned black.

Did his Father continue to turn in on himself, stilled to despair; distressed beyond the meaning of distress that his own child could be killed by his chosen people; was the Spirit still raging her grief across the air currents? The Creator and the Creative lost without their guiding star. They, who were completeness, now driven apart. How long would they last without him? Beloveds grieving the Beloved; how could he ever find them again?

He was here; woven into the physicality of this parody of flesh, blood and bone. He had delighted in the living; the sensations of touch, taste, smell; the glory of language, gesture, nuance; the experience of friendship, frustration, laughter and fear. He had stepped into his Father’s dream and it had been wonderful beyond words. The dying, too, had been part of that life. Unwelcome, suffering the agonies of pain caused through betrayal, corruption and violence, but still, somehow, life. How his body had borne so much; how his brave heart had driven him to rise and rise again knowing the path of descent that he was taking. And now dead, apart, alone, deaf, mute, paralysed, out of time, nowhere. The miracles he had worked to bring wholeness to others would not work here; the call he had sent out for Lazarus could not rise from this emptying shell. Without the Father’s power to draw upon; without the Spirit’s breath to bring life; he was helpless. Condemned again and again to death.

The God of Nowhere, fell truly silent; mindful in a body without a mind. Meanwhile, his body, seemingly inert, did not understand this concept of dead. The taking of his life had given his body a mind of its own. Chemical reactions were in place; bacteria worked and fed and grew, nails and hair pushed on through the skin. Tiny inhabitants of the tomb visited the body, in spite of the unfinished anointing with myrrh and the spices; feeding on skin flakes and bone fragments. His flesh began to disintegrate but then, its own miracle, to transform, to find a new way to be; seeking to be absorbed into the great universal melee of life. His body still sang its song; at a quieter level; a slower cadence; a softer melodic frequency; but it sang.

And as his body became less and less attached to its worldly memory it turned more and more to God; each cell; each atom knowing the Creator in a way the collective body never had. Noticing the God nearby; they turned first to him for guidance, seeking the next step in the weaving, instinctively knowing that death is never the end; for there is nothing that God had made that has been lost; simply another threshold, another becoming. The Word roused himself and smiled at his own foolishness; remembering how often he had shepherded these small awareness’s back into the weaving; feeding the complex minutia of the earth. Here was the Father in their very existence and here was the Spirit in their eagerness for life; their capacity for rebirth. And he was here; acknowledged by these tiny lives’ desire to be transformed. No longer the fear of separation – knowing that God was completeness.
He, who had borne every ill in Pandora’s Box had found Hope hidden at the bottom.

‘Dead’ was the refusal to believe that this could happen; the despair at losing what he had; the fear that Love no longer existed. In the air around him he felt the souls of the dead; drifting aimlessly; the certainty that they had been forsaken by God cruelly cocooning them; each into their own private Hell. Death had closed their eyes and the darkness had overcome them. He called to them but they would not listen; hope was a lost dream in their everlasting sleep.

Instead he called to himself; the cells that had made up his human form crowded round him. ‘I will be myself again’ he told them ‘myself inside and out.’ The weaving began; the flesh and the divinity dancing together drawing Light and Life into every atom, every pore. The healing knit bones and drew torn skin together, stitched sinew and counted fingers and toes until there were only the places of piercing left. ‘Leave them’, he said ‘so they will know me’.

Hope drew on memory then to feed the heart; the unwavering look of love in his mother’s eyes; the ‘that’ll do’ nod of pride from his father; the rousing cheer of his friends when he finally threw a fishing net without making a cat’s cradle of it; the soft kiss of a woman’s understanding of his dream; the trusting arms of a child around his neck.

He began to shine; the brightness of a nova star; incandescent beyond imagining. The darkness retreated; finding no place to hide, no shadowed corner, no place so deep, no exile so far that the Light could not reach. So bright that the eyes of the dead were opened and their veiled vestiges of flesh warmed. They turned to him at once and were gathered gratefully into his arms. ‘We are going Home’ he reassured them, ‘there are so many rooms in my Father’s house.’

He opened his eyes to the clammy, dusty darkness of the Tomb; a grey-pink light finding cracks in the stonework; a hint of a new dawn. He felt the rhythm of the Dance through the soles of his feet and heard the song of the Spirit in the arms of the fruit trees. Distractedly he rolled one of the winding cloths between his fingers as he listened to the faint, grief-laden heartbeat of a woman standing watch in the morning shadows of the garden and the mournful echoes of loss and despair from the locked windows and upper rooms of an old friend’s house. He could think of no reason to be still be here, when Hope, Light and Love were needed out there. The stone surrendered easily, unwilling to hold the Lord one single second more, and, as he stepped out, the grass rose up to bathe his feet in the morning dew of the first Easter day.


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Sitting through Saturday

We are an impatient people. The Great Vigil Mass, meant to finish with the new day,  tends to start as soon as the sun begins to fade. So sometimes can be celebrated by the early end of the evening with hours until the turning of the day. This bright season means that the Mass will begin after 8.00pm. The brightness of the day suggests a starlit ending is promised.

Much to look forward to.

But first is the waiting, not a thing I am good at to be honest, I can meditate for hours....but waiting always brings out the 'what can I be doing?' in me. To-ing and fro-ing from church all day yesterday and now - stillness.

At the Good Friday Service we were given Holy Communion reserved from Holy Thursday. As I received the host into my hands a thought came into my head 'What if this was all there is? What if, after this receiving of this Sacrament, there was no more? 

What if the God mind changed? What if the Father had decided that Jesus has suffered enough? How, then, would we cope?

There is so much in my life and my character that I know is not 'just me'. So much that I depend on Jesus for. Jesus who teaches, heals and sends. Jesus, who knows what I'm like and loves me anyway. Jesus, who nudges me towards kindness and compassion.  

Who would I talk to on the way to work each morning? Who would show me the good in those I struggle with and the courage in the chances that I take? 

I can well imagine the women in the garden confused in their grief. It was only two...three days ago...? 

Distraught with remembering Jesus' promise that he would be with them always and - somehow -  the relief that he has now moved beyond the pain, anguish and betrayal of the last days. Huddled together with no understanding of how to go on. 

How grief confuses us all. 

Grief keeps the women in place, with a promise of one more gift to give. Martha, no doubt, mixing the spices and herbs. Letting the 'ingredients' run through her fingers, scenting her clothes with loss. Praying that her preparations are, once again, a distraction.  Wanting to believe that there is hope. Hope keeping us waiting.

For today, there is nothing else to do. Like the moving of the tide and the rising of the sun - we do not create the Resurrection, the Risen Christ is not for us to conjure up. It is for the Father to give back the life that was surrendered.

The Resurrection is a gift to us. I used to live in hope of being like Mary Magdalen, the one who didn't give up, the one who was called to witness. This Lent I have had more in common with Martha - fighting the distractions in my desire to get close. Often getting it wrong. But like Martha I have kept on trying. And, like Martha, waiting for the dawn I trust will come.


Friday, 18 April 2014

The Seven Sayings - Carrying the darkness

The seven sayings of Jesus on the Cross are gathered from the four Gospels and form a meditation for the waiting......

My waiting... 

Forgiveness –
      'Father forgive them, for they know not what they do' 

I wake up to the radio dj exhorting the promise of a four day weekend - opportunities for shopping and eating, long lie-ins and late nights. Two million people have already left the country for sunshine, sea and forgetfulness. The radio adverts tell of a local pub offering a Spring 'All you can eat' BBQ later in the day. 

      ''Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise' 

Opening the front door of my house I am welcomed by the promising new birth colours of the cherry blossom against the perfectly blue sky. The gardens and fields on the way to church scream out in vivid yellows and acid greens. Runners in dayglow vests patrol the pavements and pathways at a steady pace. A mum stands at a bus stop with a young family in rainbow colours, chattering like baby parrots. The church itself is chilled and shrouded still in the dark purples against the concrete grey. Sitting on the sanctuary steps the expanse of glass doors provide a panorama of life - yet to be fulfilled. 

Relationship – 
       'Woman, behold your son:  behold your mother '

The day is spattered with holy moments. Earlier this morning we shared in the Morning Prayer of the Church. Then we go to join with the Anglican and Methodist churches in a Walk of Witness that spans the housing estate we serve. Fifty or so witnesses pray for the ten thousand souls that live here. Sometimes our 'family' doesn't even know we exist.

Abandonment –
   ' My God, My God, why have you forsaken me'

My husband sends a text - '
What's happening today?'. 
I reply 'It's Good Friday'. 
'See you later then xxx'. 

I am reminded of all the good people that I love that don't need to be here, doing this, every year. 

Sometimes I wish I was the same. Maybe I am offering only a consolation but this day - knowing how often I am guilty of forsaking God - this day I have to stand and watch.

Distress – 
     'I thirst '

A conversation with my 5 year old philosopher granddaughter about why we celebrate Good Friday. 'So we don't forget' I tell her. 'But Jesus dies!' she says indignantly 'who's going to forget that? And,' she adds ' I bet his mum feels terrible having to think about it every year!'

I bet she does too. And I bet that there are many people on this bright pink and blue spring day who are having to remember terrible things all by themselves, every year. Where can you put that grief except into the darkness of today?

Triumph – 
    'It is finished'

At the end of each walk, service or ritual- no matter how solemn - no matter how dark - comes the return to everyday life. Normality is so often the best response to fearfulness.The return to the mundane denies the overshadowing gloom. But, within each one of us a darkened lamp sits waiting for the bridegroom to take his journey. The grace is in walking the path with only the promise of Light.

        ' Father, into your hands I commit my spirit '

Our final service is Tenebrae -  candlelit in hope. The sky will still be a bright blue this year. The drive to the church will be accompanied by gardeners hard at work supervised by their nodding cherry trees and shopper's cars piled high with bargains. Within the worldview, Good Friday feels like a secret witnessed now behind closed doors. Maybe why we have to remember every year? In case one year no-one worries about a mother grieving her son. 

 This year, not even the streaks of sunset will accompany the blowing out of the candles leaving only last year's Paschal candle standing watch at the closed tomb. 

A have so many candles in broad daylight. But where our prayers come from there is no light. Only a crack in the grey-blackness -  a promise made in heaven. A promise witnessed by our own carrying of the darkness.


Foot washing

So, maybe this is about Holy Thursday in a roundabout sort of way. 

 Two years after the death of my mother, I am at the stage of remembering the 'little things'. 

One of the little things was her feet. She has been a slave to fashion in her time - at a time when shoes were not the same shape as feet. Forcing her broad toes into triangular points had not done her any favours. Neither had four children and a lifetime of domestic demands added to a workspan of tasks that kept her on her feet for many hours. 

Perhaps we are a strange family, but the one thing we would argue over would be the task of 'Mum's feet'. It was a privilege - a way, that maybe we didn't understand, of saying thank you.  The laying out of an old towel on the carpet, getting the plastic washing up bowl from the kitchen, gathering the soaps and oils, scissors and - yes - even the pumice stone. The careful carriage of the steaming kettle sending the scents of lily of the valley and rosepetals into the air. The addition of a little salt,  then the sigh of contentment as the feet smoothly entered the water defying the often scalding temperature. Without a bathroom to escape to, it was probably her equivalent of 'Five minutes peace' although it often edged out to much longer than that. 

The one 'luxury' she would allow herself was the chiropodist. The thought of being 'off her feet' was too hard to face and certainly the most difficult part of the last months of her life. 

Perhaps that's why I don't have the usual issues with feet. I like feet. I like the way you can tell how the person is by how their feet are carrying them. Feet have attitude and a serious survival instinct. 

So after my mum, I thought about feet - 

the feet of my husband, bound in two pairs of socks to take the pressure off his steelcapped boots

the tiny feet of my daughter who, when she isn't working 10 hour shifts behind a bar, is carrying her baby to and fro on her back

the mega feet of my son who defies the threatened restraints of a health condition to play sport

the feet of friends who have ran, walked and cycled miles for various charities

the feet of a friend who bounces on the balls of his feet when telling a tale 

the feet of a friend who leaves for church an hour early in case he meets someone who needs a chat

the feet of my grandaughter exploring all the world can offer

so many more...

I'd wash any of their feet in gratitude of where their feet have led them and taught me. 

Jesus asks us to be servants.

Tonight we will be re-membering what he asks us.

And, in our actions, we will be thanking those who have already said 'yes'. 


Thursday, 10 April 2014

The price of peace

Palm Sunday 

Matthew 21:1-11
Matthew 26:14-27:66

In previous years, I have speculated on the need to have the Passion readings repeated over two weeks. Why put us in the place we are going to when, all through Lent, we have been trying to avoid the deja-vu experience of hindsight?

The experience of Palm Sunday doesn't offer hindsight but peripheral vision. Next week all eyes must be on Jesus, whether they be the eyes of the crowd, the believers, the Temple or the Roman guards. This week, we get to try out what that feels like before we find ourselves standing in their place. Imagining ourselves in the melee of Matthew's Jerusalem, we are invited to observe the misdirection and misunderstandings of this tragic week. 

Jesus rarely seems to make a fuss about his travelling. We imagine him the itinerant wanderer, distracted by pleas for help and offers of hospitality. Here Jesus is quite explicit; he enters Jerusalem as David sent Solomon, as Zechariah promises the Messiah will come to his people-

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.Zech 9:9

a symbolism not lost on the exploited people of Israel; on the fervent enthusiasm of the pilgrims; on the impatient desires of the zealots. 

The shouts of 'Hosanna' meaning 'Save, now' and the thrown cloaks are recognition of prophecy being fulfilled. The palm branches signalling covert loyalty to a nation bowed by Roman rule.  The Messiah is here.

Who could not be swept up in the excitement of 'I was there'. 

But surely the Messiah would be on the side of the church leaders - and he is not. Surely the Messiah would be speaking against the Roman occupiers - and he is not. And surely the Messiah would not be sitting with the poor, the lame and the children-  but he is. 

The cloaks and palm leaves lie gathering dust, trodden into shreds of disarray - the mornings after... Perhaps this Messiah played his last trick with Lazarus; perhaps there is nothing worthwhile from Nazareth; perhaps the 'stage' is too big and Jesus has taken fright. Good for nothing except interfering with the business of the Temple then running for the hills. Another festival of disappointment.

How many of the crowd remember the continuing verse from Zechariah? 

I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
and the warhorses from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
His rule will extend from sea to sea

The week is full of confusion, sleight of hand and betrayal; so many questions.

The covenant with his Father signed with tears; the procession continues into tragedy.

Did the 30 pieces of silver compensate for the anointing with the nard?

What is the price of peace?

In the reading of the Passion, one person caught my attention who I had not thought of before. 

Watching from a distance, no doubt holding on to each other in grief; the women. With the Mary's, another woman - the mother of Zebedee's sons. The mother of James and John, the favoured friends.  

The mother who, in Matthew's gospel, just before the entry in Jerusalem - asks for a gift. Asks that her sons will sit at the left and right hand of Jesus in his Kingdom. The Kingdom that she had, no doubt, shouted in with 'Hosanna's' of her own. In her imagining, seeing her sons as golden, victorious princes once the battle had been won.  

Does her heart sink as she looks into the faces of the two criminals; these strange thrones of suffering and the kingdom that they overshadow. What if this had been the fate of her fine boys. Would she have ever asked, knowing what she wished for?

What is the price of peace?

We have made it through Lent, one way or another. The road is not much clearer. Our involvement in the proceedings still our choice to be made. 

The Methodist Covenant Prayer is one I find difficult to pray without crossing my fingers just a little. 

I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, 
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, 
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, 
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, 
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly 
yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,Father, 
Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. 
So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, 
let it be ratified in heaven.

Let me have the strength to be at your side, Lord. 
Let me know the price of peace.