Holy Saturday

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Today is the in-between day of Holy Week. I’m about to head out the door to hike with friends and eat pastries, but a few thoughts about Holy Week first.

1) I don’t know if it’s related to Holy Week or not, but some events this week just broke my heart. One morning, I found myself weeping because 200 Nigerian school girls had been kidnapped in the night by a Muslim extremist group, Boko Haram (name means death to Western Education or something like that). I guess I want the world to pay attention to Holy Week, but life goes on just like it always does. And I struggle with feeling that Christ’s passion hasn’t made much of a difference.

2) I’ve been listening to Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion. It’s all in German, so I don’t “understand” the words, but I understand just the same. I find this recording to be particularly good. I was listening to a program on NPR about the St. Matthew’s Passion, and one of the experts commented how, even for someone as talented as Bach, there are moments of beauty and artistry in the Passion that stagger belief. I particularly appreciate the multiple settings of O Sacred Head Now Wounded (I believe it appears 4 times, each time with different harmonies).

3) Walking to and from church has been such a pleasure. The weather has turned, and things are greening up nicely. We all know I am not the most outdoorsy person, but there’s something pleasant about walking to church on a warm evening.

4) I’m rereading the book Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale by Frederick Buechner. It’s a book I discovered in college and have read multiple times each year.

5) Also reading “Friday’s Child” by W.H. Auden, a poem dedicated to Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It’s all meditation on the power and burden of free will and doubt and belief. Here are the last three stanzas:

Now, did He really break the seal

And rise again? We dare not say;

But conscious unbelievers feel

Quite sure of Judgment Day.

Meanwhile, a silence on the cross,

As dead as we shall ever be,

Speaks to some total gain or loss,

And you and I are free

To guess from the insulted face

Just what Appearance He saves

By suffering in a public place

A death reserved for slaves.

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