- Friday, April 5, 2013
"Easter Reflections" from Jenny - MP Community and StudioWorks.
I hope this lent season and the coming of Easter has been meaningful for you. Holidays like Christmas and Easter have gained a whole new level of intensity for me since living in the DTES. It just feels so real, Jesus coming as light and hope, when you are surrounded by darkness; entrenching addiction, sickness/disease, broken relationships, abuse, and lack of safe housing.
Two years ago I made a crucifix as part of a Stations of the Cross walk in my neighborhood. The crude figure representing Jesus has a cigarette butt crown instead of a crown of thorns. I found it especially appropriate for my neighborhood, the use of material that is cast away and thrown out. Jesus died for these ones too!! I walked through the DTES bearing my cross. Each friend I bumped into graciously posed for a photo. Some thought it was a little weird, but as I look back I can see how God carried my friends, one or two in particular. But thats a story for another time.
Fast forward to March 29, 2013. I participated in the same walk with a motley crew of people; various Christian communities, organizations, and friends who are in recovery or still sleeping on the streets. At our second station, I was distracted by a smiling man. “Hi! Remember me?” Sort of, but not really. There are a lot of familiar faces in the ‘hood. We chatted for a bit and I invited him to join us in the walk.
“Oh, I can’t do that. I’m a bad person, I still drink.” He stepped back shyly, worried that his presence would taint the atmosphere. “No, no, no! You are completely welcome to join us. This is a community, we are family! Just come along, we tell stories at each of the stations.”
Harold agreed to walk with me, and I read the first station aloud to catch him up on the story. As we meandered through the street with a growing crowd of people he shared more about himself; his backsliding, and his desire to grow closer to God and return to Treatment. At each stop he listened attentively to the narrative. We walked through Oppenheimer Park, past the community courthouse, down Hastings Street, and through one of the dirtiest alleys in the neighborhood.
Our journey ended in Crab Park, by then the group was close to fifty people. We prepared the ‘burial’ by constructing a large cross with driftwood and rocks. Harold found a hefty log and struggled to drag it over and plunk it down. We all stepped back to reflect on the crucifixion. “Jenny, did you see my log? I couldn’t have done it without Him.” He looked up towards the sun. “He gave me the strength today.”
My heart is swelling with joy. I know that Good Friday is supposed to be for grieving, but the anticipation of Christ transforming our lives far outweighs the sorrow right now- yes, even here.
I would love to hear from you. Grace and peace!!