I am most familiar with the Christian tradition and, as you’ll hear much about in this blog, I hold no candle for contemporary Christian religiosity. I do however love a lot of its wisdom. For me, a lot of that wisdom has had to be re-translated with less judgement, less patriarchy, less hate of the other. But once translated better, more as it was intended, it is still the wisdom that feels most familiar to me. A little like coming home.
I say all this because I am likely to draw on its wisdom in my words, as I will today. And for some of you that will mean I’m safer and less likely to be a raging heretic. For others of you, my tradition has been a weapon to cause your wounds. I understand both, because Christianity has been both to me. And so I name it here, that this tradition can be a wisdom and a wounding, but I lay it next to a hope that it will be more the former than the later, whatever your tradition. I hope the words of the bible can sometimes be a balm, even if that is new ground for you.
I am not here to ask you to believe anything, or agree with anything or sign up in blood with a ripple of fear underneath, I believe that was never the point. I am simply here, being curious about old ancient wisdom that may help the old ancient parts of ourselves in some small way to make sense of this strange life we lead.
The wisdom I noticed is found in a few sentences in the Christian bible. The back drop is that the men who were called ‘disciples’ or followers of Jesus were locked in a room. They were locked in a room because they were afraid. They were afraid of the men who had killed their friend, and in doing so had killed all they knew, all they had hoped for, all they wanted. This friend symbolised freedom and hope and the start of something new, and all that had been killed off. And they were scared of what life looked like on the other side of a death that shook their understanding of everything.
I suppose this narrative is included because we all find ourselves in locked rooms when we’re scared. I suppose it’s there to tell us it’s okay to hide away when things are dying and hope is lost. I suppose that when everything you thought made sense, no longer makes sense, a locked room gives you the safety you need.
Fear can sometimes force us into a prison of our own making. We lock the door from the inside for sure, but it is still a prison none-the-less. It is a prison of safety but also of sorrow.
Locked rooms of disappointment, fear of coming out, fear of the ones who have killed your hopes, fear that everything you wished for is dying at what that means, fear that you got it all wrong, the foolishness of believing out loud.
And then their friend magically appears in the room, and says a standard local greeting ‘peace be with you’, or to you and I ‘hello’.
This figure of hope, and life and a new way and peace and love – in your locked room, simply saying ‘hello’.
May your locked rooms have enough space for a voice of hope to appear and say hello.