Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Sunday 2014


It should start in a darkened room.  Not a dark room, just a darkened one.  No lights but what comes in the windows, and those preferably stained glass.  "Stained" is the right term here; the right metaphor.  Stained glass straining the light that wants to get in.  Not yet; we are not yet ready for the light.

A darkened room; and a large room, not a small one.  Not huge, but large, with a high ceiling; and with people.  Not crowds, unless you like crowds.  As many as you think necessary; as many as should be there.  The first Easter was a solitary affair, but they ran to get others, so you shouldn't be alone, but neither do you need the whole world in attendance.

Now, song.  Mournful song.  "Were you there when they crucified my Lord?" is appropriate, because too many of those there will have skipped Good Friday; and who can blame them?  Death comes to us all, why should we be in haste to remember the death of our God?  And if we don't recognize it as that, more shame on us.  But if we do not care to come, year after year, to acknowledge it, let that be in our hearts.  Song, preferably sung only by one, and light.  A candle.  A huge candle, perhaps four feet tall; but a single flame.  A single candle.  And that's all the light.  Were you there?

If you have an orchestra, this would be a good time for the opening of Bach's Easter Oratorio.  Only strings can emulate light in song, only Bach can put sunlight into music with such joy.  But an organ will do, and a hymn, if no small orchestra is available.  It doesn't matter.  The joy is all that matters.  Joy and more song and now lights and flowers, the lilies everyone associates with Easter, and the cloths on the altar, on the pulpit, on the lectern:  the beautiful pure white ecclesial cloths of Easter.  Bring those out now.  And sing, and rejoice, and listen to the word, from the beginning to now, the lessons and the word, and celebrate the waters of life and baptism, the waters separated from the firmament as the earth is separated from the rain-bearing heavens.  And listen finally to the word, the word of God to God's people on this day of greatest celebration, this day of triumph, of life over death, joy over sorrow, rejoicing over mourning.

 

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