Friday, April 22, 2011

Darkness

So the weather and my health have conspired to create a fantastic Good Friday experience. I'm still too sick to go to church or work but not sick enough to not care about that. The weather has been cold, grey, rainy and occasionally windy. I've spent the day alone with the exception of one trek to the grocery store to get Fancy Feast for my spoiled kitty, where the checkout girl snarled at me.

Perfect Good Friday. Didn't miss a beat. :^)

Honestly, none of today has been *that* bad, but it's made meditating on Good Friday easier. Last year on Good Friday, Common Table went on a retreat where we spent the weekend sitting shiva for our dead dreams... trying to enter the space the disciples were in, where all they knew was the death of their Messiah. As it happens, the dream I mourned last year died again when Vince ended things in January, so that suffering is fresh for me... and just like last year, I have no evidence that my dream won't just stay dead.

It's easy to forget that the disciples didn't know. It's easy to forget their despair... not only had Christ died, but they'd just stood there and WATCHED without lifting a finger to do anything about it... and Peter had actively denied Him, swearing oaths on his own head that he had no idea who Jesus was before That Prophetic Chicken started mouthing off.

I was struck in reading the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion today with the Synoptic Gospel writers' observation that the sun's light was blocked out for 3 hours in the middle of the day as Jesus suffered agonizing pain on the cross. Darkness is the best word I can think of to describe what must have descended on the disciples' minds and hearts after Jesus died. I was reminded, too, of Psalm 88, the only one of the Psalms that does not resolve in praise of God. It is, in my mind, the Psalm of the Crucifixion (I'm sure I'm not original in that observation), and it ends with the line "Darkness is my only companion".

Writing a Good Friday poem is not easy. There is so much amazing art, music, poetry and prose about this event. But here's my attempt.

darkness

Darkness fell over the whole land
from noon to 3pm. Then You screamed:
"Why have You left me, Father??!!!"
And died.
And the earth shook.

There was a stunned centurion
who suddenly knew you were God,
and a terrified priest
gaping at a torn temple veil.

The sun came out again,
and some who had died righteous
rose and walked into Jerusalem.

But You were still dead.

Joseph of Arimathea laid
You in his own, new tomb.
The women watched, waiting,
wanting to come back
and bathe Your broken, battered body.

But now the sun was going down,
and Shabbos was upon them.
Joseph rolled a heavy stone
over the mouth of Your burial place.
The sun's last rays fled the sky, ashamed,
and the women left, in darkness.

The Light of the World was dead.


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