Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter as Shock and Awe

A Zaire Christ here There are so many tens of thousands of depictions of Christ in art, literature, theology. The question I hear as if from the Man of Sorrows and immense Love to me (from a young age until now) is simply: "Who am I to you?" The dark scene shows people of various faith-traditions during the beginning of an Easter sunrise service held at Jones Beach, Long Island, New York. (April 24, 2011) photo credit, Ed Betz.

Backing up to the crucifixion - from noon to 3 p.m.— the brightest part of the day- darkness falls “over the whole land” Do solar eclipses usually last three hours? The Greek words used in the phrase “darkness fell” imply a sudden event. Even the historian Tertullian - recording secular writers - speaks of a strange period of darkness and we can only imagine how far the sun’s light was blocked.

The man who was recorded as saying that he came to bring life - even to the thief on the cross - the one who gave his beloved friend, John, to his mother and she to him, cries out: "My God, why have you forsaken me?" We cannot imagine the dark suffering of this sense of abandonment. And then he adds, " Let this cup pass from me. Yet nevertheless not my will..." The rending of the temple’s veil shocks the priests.

There is nothing "feel good" to reassure anyone. Yet the women, who cannot shake the love they received from him, go the next morning anyway, before light, to look for him at the tomb. Are they silent or reminding one another?

“In the passionate dark of dawn, on the path between death and life, within view of the watchful stars and within earshot of the beautiful, obscure anthems, a voice told of the trials and joys promised to our alley.” — Naguib Mahfouz, The Harafish

The first Easter morning is accompanied by terrific geological shaking - the epicenter is such a bloody piece of land - Golgotha.

"What if, by some miracle, this present turned out to be a dream, a hideous nightmare, and we were to awake renewed and cleansed, strong, upright and proud? Why do we never try to stand again when once we've fallen? When we lose one thing why don't we search for another? I want our lives to be holy, sublime and solemn as the vault of heaven. Let us live! The thief on the cross had hope even though he had less than an hour left to him, and the sun only rises once a day, so take hold of what's left of your life and save it." —Anton Pavlovich Chekhov.

My soul wants to fly away when your presence calls it so sweetly.
My soul wants to take flight, when you whisper, "Arise."
A fish wants to dive from dry land into the ocean, when it hears the drum beating "Return." The Sufi, shimmering with light, wants to dance like a sunbeam when darkness summons him. - from The Mathnawi, transl. by Jonathan Star

Yet what when...“I lost my way, I forgot to call on your name. The raw heart beat against the world, and the tears were for my lost victory. But you are here. You have always been here. The world is all forgetting, and the heart is a rage of directions, but your name unifies the heart, and the world is lifted into its place. Blessed is the one who waits in the traveller’s heart for his turning.” -Leonard Cohen, Poem #50, Book of Mercy

I found this image on a British poet's site here

A poignant audio (with a Cambodian Christ figure) which relays the faith of various persons who've touched and/or face death with a sense of the divine presence (Includes a Pakistani Muslim man who's brother was killed in war violence) here

And here is what I heard next this am (which gave me a renewed yearning to find the Divine in a garden along with my usual forested walks. This interview also connected me anew to some of my family Netherlands to Russian roots and the great poetry in the midst of the Armenian holocaust "transplants") here
Julian is well-known through much sharing in Christ's sufferings to offer these comforting words: "All shall be well, all shall be well, all manner of things shall be well."


Rehan Qayoom said...

Thanks for dropping by on my blog.

I am not a Pakistani poet. I am a British poet.

Connie L. Nash said...

Alright, Rehan, glad you corrected me and I will also correct. At least I got half right: the poet part.

I look forward to dropping by on your blog more often. Thanx for coming by here.