Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Wholly Holey Holy

As one would expect, I'm down with the grim stuff. Ankylosed bolts, dead weeds, the depredations of the powers and principalities and their enablers: bring it on, I say. Let's linger with the  Lamentations a little longer, and sing a few more choruses of those grim psalms. 

Let's requench the candelabra, flame by flame, until we're swamped by shadows and scared witless by the screech of brakes and bash of crumpling metal. And by that song let's rewalk the dolorous circuit around the blasted Garden, the grimmest mummery of all, secure in the fact that we shall never, ever forget our two assigned words in the play.

Let's remember, then, how peevish we were at the strange ablutions, and how understandably horrified we were by by that last meal. And how the horror extended through the long night, a horror from which we could not avert our eyes until the sounds of the still-dark morning reminded us that At the cry of the first bird/they came to crucify thee, O swan --

On a day like this, we thought. A day just like this.

And then the harrowing descent. Always the harrowing descent. Into earth still unwarmed by spring.  Yes: I am down with all this. Down, down, down. I am even down with the last night's grand finale, the fires unswamped by darkness, pierced by a single voice -- Exsultet iam angelica turba caelorum. The cascade of stories -- types and shadows have their ending -- night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth -- ascending on fragrant smoke to the old, old beams.

But then (and here you might want to avert your eyes) comes the morning. One feels a bit hung over, even disinclined. Hic jacet the Easter of one's childhood after all. The Easter of hats, and stiff new clothes, and Congregational grape juice, and fresh-baked loaves that always seemed to arrive with the warm and tasty white flesh all gored out, leaving a crust that resembled, for all intents and purposes, an empty tomb.  The Easter of hard pews between stiffly dressed parents, the Easter of imbibing candlesmoke and JesusLovesYous in an overbright church, the same JesusLovesYous that have hounded you even into the shadowy place of thin, dry wafers and real wine from a common cup taken kneeling as one body, His, even as one seems poised to fly like a shed hair or fingernail clipping into a somewhere less bustling with brightly dressed, happily thronging families -- therefore let us keep the feast ! --

and you realize you have come to inhabit the last uncaulked slit in the church wall, too small for even a mouse, never mind an anchoress, and (or so they say) JesusLovesYou will reach you even there, although you wish they would phrase it differently, you wish they would stop detaching Christ from the Trinity as that super-friendly dude Jesus who'll walk with you and talk with you and tell you that you are his own.

The green blade has risen, it has risen indeed, alleluia, alleluia, and if risen, no matter how, it has risen for all -- even, I suppose, the ones last seen running full tilt down the church walk toward the street, past the Easter-egg speckled lawns (already green) swarming with children -- the back pew singletons who cringe at the happy press and roil of it all --

unable, once again, to tell wound -- sin ! -- from deepest, truest self.

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