The Wary Ides of March

There’s an often quoted line of Shakespeare from Julius Caesar in which Rome’s emperor is given a message by a soothsayer warning of his death on that day. “Beware the ides of March.”


Words that ring true in a number of ways for me these days through the season of Lent. In the wake of two years this week since the death of my beloved wife, Melissa, some such words in seasons of grieving at times triggers an overwhelming feeling of pain and loss amplified in a new way once again. These “grief bursts”, as sometimes referred to, can likely occur at particularly expected and/or unexpected events which may or may not be anticipated among loved ones who have together experienced the common loss of a dearly loved one.


For me personally, it happened a month ago upon hearing of the death of Whitney Houston—a gifted gospel/pop singer Melissa and I enjoyed from our early days of dating back in the 80’s and into the early 90’s when we lived in the New York/New Jersey metro area. I found those nights during the week of Valentine’s Day following Whitney’s death last month particularly challenging and difficult for what seemed at times to my mind no real, good reason.


And yet, the thought occurs to me of how fearfully and wonderfully made we are as human beings created in the image of a holy God Who fashioned and designed us out of dust with profound feeling(s) and awe built-into our very nature. We are after all as one of my mentors once said, “human beings, not human doings.” It is in our nature to be affected with heartfelt emotions because of a God Who greatly loves us with great, lavish affection. Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us that we should be called children of God! And that is who we are!!!


I realized in hindsight that God’s purpose may have been for me to experience my own grief burst a month earlier so that I might be there for the grief bursts of my children which did come this past week when I was then more able to be present with and for them in their time of need. That is how much our God loves us, dearly beloved ones!


Reverberating as it were throughout the ages, a wariness around this time of liturgical reflection upon the passion of the Christ similarly ensues over those of us given to delve more deeply in devotion and become embraced by that foreboding sense of betrayal anticipated, expected and experienced by Jesus himself at the hands of a trusted friend and follower. As Luke (22:47-48) recounts for us, upon his approach, Jesus asked, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”


I imagine Jesus, exuding such great love at the time of his betrayal and arrest, experiencing the bittersweet prospects of love, life and death itself all at the same time. He knew what he was about to and already going through for the sake of us whom He loved so dearly, even the one who was at that moment the betraying instrument of his impending suffering and sacrifice.


Is this the time now again in which we are to witness and experience the profound act of submission and surrender our Savior willingly gave Himself over to?


This spring break of Holy Week from Palm/Passion Sunday through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the in-between void of Holy Saturday, we are gifted, privileged and blessed to consider anew as Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians (3:18) tells us how wide and long and high and deep is the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. To know this love that surpasses knowledge that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God!


This is my prayer for us in this fellowship. May we be brought unto the celebration of the resurrection and the life at Easter with joy and thanksgiving in the knowledge of Him who saved us! Glory to God,


In the Spirit of Christ the King,

Pastor Rex Espiritu

~ by prayersForMelissa on March 15, 2012.

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