Saturday, April 22, 2006

Holy Friday

22 April 2006, 8:13 AM

I wonder if this is death
following the crucified Christ
having gone to His voluntary death
(O great heavens, have mercy—He is dead!)
now carried to His voluntary entombment

And we follow singing
knowing whither we go
knowing there is no return
to the life we knew before
knowing also there is life truer
more beautiful and alive
than we have ever known
but not until we have followed Him
followed Him
followed Him to death and burial

I wonder if this is death
as I follow the corpse of the Living God
through the doorway of the Temple
through the Narthex to pass beneath Him
to the Nave

On this side of Him

Passing underneath I cross myself
preparing to die
preparing for anguish
preparing for dark despair

On the other side of Him
(that which cannot be conquered by darkness)
light and beauty and faces of loved ones
Gold and fine vestments
beeswax burning, incense rising
olive oil aglow with light
recalling the Light that will come

I wonder if this is death
body, mind, spirit
overflowing with brightness
which cannot be contained
within a purely human frame
for the Spirit of Peace
will flow forth from us
having collected in these clay basins
the Faithful, filling us
to so much more than capacity


Today the earth is robed in white
Trees and men walk in shadows
as clouds descend to venerate the Living God
Laid in a tomb by purely human hands
grieved by purely human tears
lamented by purely human tongues
He makes our purely human lives
accomplishments as nothing
compared with the surpassing beauty
the endless faithfulness
the wellspring of tenderness and love
even as He lies dead in our midst


Yet only for a moment
does the Son of Man descend
for it takes but a word from His lips
to conquer the gates of the Hell of hells
to reclaim the keys
nay, to wrench those gates from their hinges
to tear them bar from bar
and hurl them into the Abyss
that no created being may retrieve
the full recompense owed humanity

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George MacDonald

"Home is ever so far away in the palm of your hand, and how to get there it is of no use to tell you. But you will get there; you must get there; you have to get there. Everybody who is not at home, has to go home."

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