“Let us not pass on humiliation and contempt. Let us not hold on to grudges. Let us not hold on to anger or revenge. Let us ask God to cleanse our minds of the wrongs which have been done to us. Let us not demand to be right which may very well make us wrong.”
(Full disclosure: The author of this book is my friend.)
Yesterday, while in the middle of reading Jeff Blake’s new book “The Seven Last Words of Christ: Meditations on the Cross,” I had to stop and write to tell him how powerful it is. This short book is HANDS DOWN the best book I’ve read on the message of Jesus. At less than 40 pages the message is distilled to perfection, cutting through any filler or unnecessary repetition while also offering brief personal experiences by Mr. Blake that never take the reader off course.
My belief or faith is far, far away from rock solid. Like reading a passage from Richard Rohr, Henri Nouwen or Thomas Merton the words in these pages feel like an anchor of truth. How so? While reading I felt the “how it isness” wash over me. I felt carried and at peace. I also became aware of wanting to flee to distraction in the other direction to avoid letting it all sink in. Am I the only one who does this? Stoping mid-chapter to write an email is a pretty good indicator I am misdirecting myself. (“Stop reading! Do something else! Tell the world!” You gotta love the ego. No really, you have to or it won’t leave you alone.)
I can’t say enough good things about “The Seven Last Words of Christ: Meditations on the Cross”, by Jeff Blake, so I won’t try. It’s awesome. Pick it up for Lent and read it. Read it more than once. You’ll be very happy you did.
“I will leave to theologians, philosophers, and sages of the ages to define the meaning of the Cross. For me, at least, I choose to simply kneel at the foot of the Cross and contemplate such great love for the whole of humankind. Here a man illustrates what it means to die for us, not because we are bad, but because at the heart of it, we are good and are being shown a way to live a life of surrender.”
“If history teaches us nothing else, it is that power is borrowed. At best, power is something granted not something taken. That means, in Western democracies at any rate, that those who have power need the gifts of discernment and judgement, because if we recognize the temporary nature of power, then equally, we need to recognize what in the activity of dissent is valuable.
The principle at issue is the temporary nature of power, and the necessity of service and humility, the necessity of seeing what truth is being cried out in an act of protest.”
“The more that we can put together, the more that we can “forgive” and allow, the more we can include and enjoy, the more we tend to be living in the Spirit. The more we need to reject, oppose, deny, exclude and eliminate, the more open we are to negative and destructive voices and to our own worst instincts.”