Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rise Again

The best song written by the late folk singer Stan Rogers was one titled, “The Mary Ellen Carter.” The song is about sailors who are on board the boat the Mary Ellen Carter when it sank due to the incompetence of the leadership. Once it rested on the bottom, the owners and insurance company decide that it is cheaper to declare it a total loss. But the sailors who had worked and lived in the boat felt a special kinship with it and refused to abandon it. So they went into debt, gave up their time and risked their lives to raise the boat from the bottom. It is a guy’s song filled with basso testosterone but it expresses something that resonates deep within many who hear it. The chorus goes like this:

Rise again, rise again
That her name not be lost to the knowledge of men.
All those who loved her best and with her to the end,
Will make the Mary Ellen Carter rise again.

The Church has often in its two millennium made the resurrection of Jesus something between Jesus and God, or just between God. When we do that we make ourselves passive bystanders whose only calling is to believe in what God has done and try to get others to believe it as well.

But Resurrection isn’t a past event it is an active principle in the lives of those who embrace the path of God’s love. The life and death of Jesus shows us that living a life guided by the love of God is not easy. We are called to use self giving love as a tool to combat violence and hate, fear and greed. Not only is our task difficult it almost insures that we are going to get knocked down, literally or figuratively. This does not mean that we are masochists; it means that our faith calls on us to be realists. The Gospels show us that the path of Christ is filled with hostility and conflict. Getting knocked down is a part of engaging the world around us with agape love. That is where resurrection comes in.

We are called to be people who accept that the cost of following our faith will be the hostility of the World (Domination System), we expect to be knocked down, but we also expect to rise again, and again and again. The love of God as experienced especially in a loving and supportive community rolls away the stones that would keep us down. The love of God empowers us to rise.

Resurrection is what we do.

The last verse of Stan’s song goes like this:

“And you to whom adversity has dealt a moral blow
With smiling bastards lying to you every where you go
Turn to and put out all your strength in arm and heart and brain
And like the Mary Ellen Carter rise again.”

No comments: