Fat Tuesday and Good Friday are both preludes.
You’d think I must have chosen to give up blogging for Lent. Not one entry after Fat Tuesday. Nothing of the glorious Ash Wednesday experience, that annual marker of remembering that death is coming for all of us, that we are made of ashes and dust and to ashes and dust we will return. Nothing of the giving up of bread, the failure to keep the Lenten fast perfectly, and the ongoing tension of how fasting from anything anytime reveals the cracks in our character. Nothing of this season of acting, the appearance in Taproot Theatre’s Brooklyn Boy, and the ridiculous parallels to my own life my character has to live through. Nothing of the making of two visual art pieces for this year’s Stations of the Cross exhibit (from which I am writing even now), the quiet loss of time as I glue rose petals and write metallic words on a black frame not meant for that at all. Nothing of my daughter’s return home after finishing her classes in college–I mean all her classes, as in she is finished, save the showcases in New York and Los Angeles that will provide a gateway to her future, regardless of what happens. Nothing of my migrating faith, my knowledge and dreams of God, Christ, and the Spirit ever moving, like the tides my friend Jeffrey speaks of.
But no, I didn’t fast from blogging. But my lack of writing tells me something. I wish I could say it meant I was quiet inside, that is was about having nothing to say because all was right with the world.
I don’t think that’s it.
Unrest is more like it.
So now, here as the world goes back to it’s 8 a.m. trading, I sit encased in a dark room, surrounded by images of Christ and his death. Crosses, faces of Christ, thorns, rose petals, candles, photographs of modern people pretending to be ancient, and the sounds of cars whizzing along in the rain just outside these doors. The room opened at 7:00 a.m. and except for the person who came to help monitor the room for the first hour, I am alone. Once around the path already, the stations each spoke to me, made me reflect on the essential drama of the story. Christ was betrayed and killed. It’s old news, really. Familiarity of over 2000 years blunts the shock of it. I look at images of a man executed, his corpse strung up on a crossbar, muscle and bone exposed by the penetration of heavy, rusty spikes. Blood everywhere, stink pervasive, dark and rain and filth oozing over the earth. Barry Moser in the Pennyroyal Caxton Bible does it as well as anyone, and I look at the images, and wonder how in the world to enter in.
How do we enter into death?
There’s a squalling storm blowing through the Puget Sound today. Cold creeps in, and a few of the candles didn’t want to stay lit, wavering in a draft. He’s dead, Jesus is. At least on this day, that’s the way to tell the story. We want to get to Sunday, but it’s not Sunday yet. No resurrection, not even a hope of it, if you were the disciples that Friday. Judas killed himself. Who can blame him? A terrible, terrible day.
I get it, but how strange to make a world where blood and death are the deepest–perhaps the only–pathways to beauty.
Sometimes I wonder…
Standing at the foot of the cross, what else is there to do?
Did God just die?
Some say yes…some say no…