From the earliest human times there have been rituals and ceremonies for the end of a life. How do I know that? From glyph s etched into hardest of rock. I have seen the Thunder Bird and the Turtle. All are beyond human control. The etchings are attempts to enter into the experience of the ancestors who have gone beyond.
The creation of the glyphs took time, many hours beneath the open sky. By more than one person. A community experience. Root sites of what we now call religion.
We put ourselves at risk if we neglect the ritual ceremonies of the ancients. The translation into contemporary life is a cultural eddy in the stream of time. This is our task - this translation into the fluid language and cultural practices of the 21st century.
Specific religions come and go. Religion goes on. Perhaps until the end of cosmic time.
We shall not see that day - you and I. Unless.....
The word Opaque brings to mind seeing through a glass or a mirror dimly. Just what are we seeing over there or in here?
Most religious Holy Days are both transparent and opaque. On the one hand such days call attention to central features of a religion. On the other hand the more one looks into the details of the Holy Day the more uncertain one becomes over just where this all going.
Since I am a Christian let me use the Sacred Time of Christmas as an illustration.
Songs, paintings, poems, and decorations focus on the Baby Jesus and the birth in the midst of a troubled world. At first it is all so charming and lovely to behold. Cultures adopt the innocence of a new born child as a safe place to be. In America the commercial world has done its best to turn the season into a time of spending money and time.
Persons who contemplate life issues often find themselves baffled by what gradually dawns. This innocent figure of a child grow up into a person who challenges any and all cultures, governments and educational systems. The stories surrounding the season seem fine emotionally but confusing to analysis by the rational mind.
The horizon becomes opaque. Are we coming or going in this moment of time. What was so lovely fades into a place of discomfort when inner images are invaded by doubts and relationship questions.
It is as if this is a time when troubling matters can be surfaced. It is also a time when generosity can be shown with little question of motive.
The opaque times allow space for exploration. Join me in befriending this opaque season.