Thursday, April 5, 2012

Gethsemane (meditations on Good Friday and the true meaning of Easter)

so I was always being told I was getting too much into it. or not being told at all it was just the way all the nice church ladies with their date squares were waiting for that pesky easter Friday service to be over so they could move in with their coffee urns. while this strange sort of bird is sitting at the back of the church like one of the poor churchmice of old, weeping not so quietly as symbols are being brought to the front of the church

what they are, are symbols of a man slowly dying in agony hanging from a tree, his flesh bared and bleeding, spat on and reviled and – His mother kneels in the dust. Dear jesusgod, how can people put God to death, but here it is and even his most dearest companions, his most trusted allies cannot be counted upon to

(this strange lady who sits at the back of the church. She has provided some music for the end of the service and the minister now regrets the fact that she has entrusted her with this small task for it is a tape of the end of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, the horror of the two lovers discovering one another dead DEAD DEAD)

There is something very strange about this woman because she doesn’t seem to be here for the date squares. It makes everyone very uncomfortable. She has been told for years to attend Bible study and she has done so. She has been told for years to learn all about the gospels and she has done so. She has been taught all the hymns. Why is she crying? Why does she feel she is dead and not quite reborn?

Why does she know she is alone?

It is embarrassing and soon the embarrassment and shame will roll over her like a stone and crush her. Will none of you keep watch with me? pray with me? Simon Peter, not even you? On this rock I will build my church. Some rock, he denies me three times and then the rooster crows just like in the legend.

It makes good story. Like good TV, the Bible is good story. But she only realizes that now. Now that the stone has crushed all the religion out of her. It was too much UCW and gabby socials and funerals where everyone smiled and clapped their hands and celebrated the person’s life even if he just dropped dead at 50 and SHE was in the washroom sobbing her guts out


But then, she has always been the weird one.

Judas, will you pray with me? That one, over there. Yes. It is as you suspected, it’s this one, this one here making all the trouble. Talking crazy, redeeming. People say he walks on water. Psssccccchawwwww!

Water into wine, tears into saltmines, the brain into a tornado of grief borne alone, alone after years of service and trying hard to belong. A pathetic endeavour. True Christians sacrifice, don’t they? Then why don’t I know any? Why do the best Christians never bear the name of Christ? Has the name become so tainted? Why are we all so artificial? Should I be Catholic and bear stigmata and ask for the demons to be driven out?

(No. Instead she is the recipient of pitied murmurings overheard in the ladies’ washroom which is somehow always full of dirty diapers. Well you know dear. She isn’t right. Poor thing can’t help it, mental illness blah blah blah. Ohhhh, is that why she’s always crying? What is wrong with her?)

Then the one who radiates the most pity approaches her, grabs her hand and squeezes it and won't let go. She has been nominated to do the job by the Committee of Deep Concern. "I just wanted to tell you, dear, that we're all praying for you." "Oh. OK."  She looks straight into the woman's crinkled, evasive eyes. "I'm praying for you too, then." The woman shifts in her shoes a little. "I'm sorry, dear, I'm afraid you misunderstood me."

They allow her to stay, which is big of them. Most generous of them, Christian, to take her in, refugee. but it is damned uncomfortable and just inappropriate, what she always does on Good Friday. When she feels the lash, when welts rise on her back. when she dies and gasps to be reborn and can only be reborn through her children and their children When the core is dead, the core of herself dead and they all witnessed that death and did nothing about it because it wasn’t supposed to be happening because you are not supposed to

Prokofiev plays on in her head. The final notes. Mary wails by the cross. What was her real name? Was there a Mary? jesus may just have been a collection of myths. a book came out a few years ago called the pagan christ which basically said jesus never existed, and her church couldn’t wait to set up a book study to analyze it for its basic truth. It was the book to read, everyone was reading it, it was

Well, yes, I can see where

I think he makes a lot of sense when

JESUS! PEOPLE! This is your REDEEMER! Your personal Saviour, the Being upon which your entire life should be based! Why are you so deaf? Why are you whispering in the washroom? Why did that lady get up at the front at prayer time and say “poor thing she’s in the hospital but on medication now so we know why she”. When she never gave her permission to say anything.

Shallow people, old biddies, well-meaning but perhaps not well-meaning, full of nasty viper words. To be abandoned is not so nice: will none of you pray with me, Peter,  John, James? Take this poison cup away from me, abba, blessed beloved father. But not my will be done.

Were you there when they crucified. . . ? Sometimes it causes me to tremble tremble tremble. Sob and sob while sitting crouched on a pew in the back row.  Is there anything the matter, dear? Are you all right? Can I get you something? A date square, perhaps. Sackcloth and ashes. A stone that rolls away. Take this stone off my back, take it out of my brain, this stone that was supposed to redeem me. Will no one wait with me, keep vigil with me?  Peter, John, James.


Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book
    It took me years to write, will you take a look

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't sleep last nite. Not sure what triggered it but I found myself feeling utterly lost and alone. I knew it was Maundy Thursday and what that signified, which gave me a little comfort, but I finally got up around 3:30. Made coffee and breakfast and finished a new chapter of my novel. I felt a little better for doing that, but the aloneness, the lostness never really left. It's still with me, like a dull ache. I'm not Catholic. Never have been. I do have a strong sense of empathy, and I'm thinking that might have something to do with it.