Blood On The Door
As a Protestant-raised child, I had an obsession with Cecil B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments, and I naively wondered WHY it always came on during Easter (permitted eye roll for all my Jewish friends and my special friend Rabbi Jonathan Kligler). As I got older and more educated, I realized that our Gentile faith-roots began in sacrificial blood offerings and the “passing over” of pestilences.
Which brings me to this dark and uneasy period. The imagery of the greenish fog in the movie that descended over the Egyptians when Pharaoh would not let the Hebrew slaves go, and Joshua running around painting the doors with his bucket of blood, spoke to me this week.
The grocery store feels like that now. Mental pictures of germs and death invade our psyches as we search for a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk, and the peril of not knowing who is next to die pervades the brain-peace we took for granted before. The creepiness is palpable, and it’s making us edgy and angry.
The concept of blood on the door kept emerging as I began to assess the situations of some of the people I love. A particular mother has been through 7+ years of pain and harassment at the hands of an abuser, and she’s lost at every turn; sometimes ridiculed by the outside world for not knowing what to do next. Her journey has been bloodied with her consistent and stubborn faith in God, and to those of us who draw near, it is an epic spiritual war. Yet, in this human storm, she’s been blessed with uncommon hope as if, in the darkness, God Himself moved into her home with her. She’s been gifted time for her children to heal and peace of mind that God still sees her. El Roi (el Ro-hee, The God Who Sees) remains.
I have been abundantly rewarded with spiritual gifts and grace unexpected in this societal derailment. I won’t go into details, but I sense that there truly is a spiritual currency, and the sacrifice and pain that goes into the vigil that we keep can yield a harvest. “The Kingdom of Heaven Is Within You,” said Jesus. If we take this literally, we can ascertain that there is a pile of gold that accumulates by faithfulness. This is not to mean we pray in groups for people to see, or that we show up for the potluck, or that we have the best dress ever for Easter. This is the silent spiritual war that no one sees; the ugliness of an unpopular choice; the embarrassment of being labeled as a crazy person (envision Noah standing in the desert with a stick and an ark and it is NOT raining).
Blood on the door. Did ‘it’ pass over me? Do I carry my blood on the door with me? I've always been disturbed in the midst of bad things happening to good people. I will never be able to reconcile why one fabulous and giving person has to die of cancer or abandon children due to a fatal accident or succumb to this new virus. It shouldn’t happen, ever. To me, there is nothing to suffice but the words, “I am so so sorry.” Explaining any reasoning for the loss in spiritual terms is neither humane nor helpful to anyone.
In this context, God willing, if I’m supposed to be alive next week, did I sow those things which yielded fruit? Did the blood I put on my door before this plague hit insulate me from deviating in my true path? I’ve always believed in markers and messages along the way, and that they are delivered in spectacular, individual ways by the Host of Heaven. To those of us who read between the lines, there are unspoken and incalculable Truths sprouting up from warming soil. This uncanny silencing of 'noise' in our own lives, hearts, and minds will remind us more clearly of our spiritual blood on the door.
“To he that hath ears, let him hear."
Happy Easter and Blessed Passover.