"And they said to him, 'You're not one of his disciples are you?' (Peter) denied it and said, 'I am not.'"
"When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier."
"It is finished."
John 18:25, 19:23, 30
Listening to the Passion in John's Gospel this morning, particularly these three passages, I pondered the journey toward death. While we won't die as horrifically as Jesus died, there are similarities in all of our end-of-life stories. Our journey toward death is a letting go. We let go of people; gradually there may just be a few taking those final last steps with us. In John's Gospel, Jesus had his mother, Mary Magdalene, another Mary and John with him at the very end, but where were the crowds of well-wishers who had welcomed him into town earlier in the week? And where was Peter, his rock? The crowds drift away as death nears and only a few, if we are blessed, stay with us. Second, we let go of our stuff. All the more reason to let go of it now, I say. Jesus had so few things in his possession, but that didn't stop the soldiers from dividing them and rolling dice to see who got his tunic. Willingly or not, we let go of our possessions; we don't need them anymore. Finally, we take that last breath and let go of our very selves. We let go of the "us" we have come to know throughout our lives. Kathleen Dowling Singh, who studied death and dying at the bedsides of many people, says that it can be such a peaceful release, a looking beyond the now and reaching toward something beckoning us. Jesus knew his work was complete. He'd done all he could do and all that was left of letting go of his very self; the self he had come to know in his human form. As we go about this somber day thinking of that road to Calvary, let us thank God for our own journey, too. We don't know when or where or how our lives will end, but we know that Jesus will be with us and that Jesus has walked it first. All blessings and good to you on your Easter weekend. Love, heidi