Friday, April 22, 2011

FIVE SHORT TAKES ON GOOD FRIDAY

For use in contemplating the Good Friday story in contemporary context

STUMBLING BLOCK TO FAITH.  “Christmas and Easter can be subjects for poetry, but Good Friday, like Auschwitz, cannot.  The reality is so horrible, it is not surprising that people should have found it a stumbling block to faith.” -- W.H.  Auden

AND YET NOT WEEP?

Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy Blood’s slow loss,
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon--
I, only I.

Yet give not o’er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

-- Christina Rossetti

GIVEN PUBLICLY.   “Given is the word.  Given publicly, on the first Good Friday, on a hill, in the sight of all, was the visible demonstration of the only permanent way to overcome evil.  Human nature demands something more enduring than the unquiet equilibrium of rival powers.” – Muriel Lester

LEADING OUT, DRAWING IN.  “The symbol of the cross in the church points to the God who was crucified not between two candles on an altar, but between two thieves in the place of the skull, where the outcasts belong, outside the gates of the city.  It does not invite thought but a change of mind.  It is a symbol which therefore leads out of the church and out of religious longing into the fellowship of the oppressed and abandoned.  On the other hand, it is a symbol which calls the oppressed and godless into the church and through the church into the fellowship of the crucified God.” -- Jürgen Moltmann, The Crucified God

TERRIBLE GOODNESS OF THIS FRIDAY

Holy one,
shock and save me with the terrible goodness of this Friday,
and drive me deep into my longing for your kingdom,
until I seek first
yet not first for myself,
but for the hungry
and the sick
and the poor of your children,
for prisoners of conscience around the world,
for those I have wasted
with my racism
and sexism
and ageism
and nationalism
and regionalism
for those around this mother earth and in this city
who, this Friday, know far more of terror than of goodness,
that, in my seeking first the kingdom,
for them as well as for myself,
all these things may be mine as well:
things like a coat and courage
and something like comfort,
a few lilies in the field
the sight of birds soaring on the wind,
a song in the night,
and gladness of heart,
the sense of your presence
and the realization of your promise
that nothing in life or death
will be able to separate me or those I love,
from your love
In the crucified one who is our Lord,
and in whose name and Spirit I pray.
Amen.
-- Ted Loder in Guerillas of Grace

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