It’s Holy Week, Semana Santa. I started it this year in Guatemala. Everyone is back to their hometown, it seems, to visit family and friends. Alfombras, block long carpets of brightly colored sawdust and flowers, transform the cobblestone of colonial streets. Huge elaborate floats depicting the passion of Christ are carried on the shoulders of fifty or more of the faithful, inching their way past the cathedral and central park. The brass and drum corps marks time, in cadence befitting the gravity of the Lamb of God, taking upon himself the sins of the world.
It’s an outsize burden, I think. Mayan women hawk fabulously beautiful weavings, made of handspun yarn and natural dyes, painstakingly extracted from spices, flowers, berries and insects.
No price can adequately compensate the weeks of labor by these women, sitting on knees, the weight of their bodies creating the tension needed for the woof and warp of their backstrap looms. The work is so gorgeous. They ask so little. The market prevails in its daily disappointment.
Our travels took us to their villages, where tombstones decorated with primitive art depict burned houses and hanged, hacked and bleeding bodies of the hundreds, thousands, perhaps 250,000 of their beloved family and friends, slaughtered by soldiers and paramilitary in the 1980’s, pieces dumped into mass graves.
The generals justified these deaths with biblical quotes under a valence of anti-communism, preparing the way, as it has for 500 years, for the insatiable lords of wealth and power, the robes cast off by the killers piled for safekeeping at the gates of the School of the Americas.
I fly home. Three simple words that separate me indelibly from the suffering on the ground. I ride the slick shiny blade of the machete of progress, hacking its way through the friendly skies, bounding lightly across borders that say “No, you may not partake. Your cup is a sop of vinegar served up on whatever stick you can find.”
59 missiles flip their way mindlessly to an airstrip in Syria and MOAB, the “mother of all bombs”, is dropped in Afganistan, this week’s blackbird pie served up for the ego of a spoiled child, daily millions demanded to fund the latest Mar-a-Lago deal, the White House an empty shell of a sucked out egg, the hollow hope of the poor and downtrodden.
Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.
No amount of blood poured out has ever offered a drop of redemption. It’s just another killing – another lie of the king, sanctioned by the priest, to justify clearing the path ahead. Jesus died because of our sins, never to take them away.
© Jerry S Kennell, Two Trees in the Garden. Feel free to quote, as useful, with proper reference.
Jerry Kennell provides spiritual direction in person and by Skype at Two Trees Center for Spiritual Development, Estes Park, Colorado. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone or text to (970) 217-6078. Click FOLLOW above to be notified of future posts.