Friday, April 14, 2006

Triduum: Good Friday

Outside the door of my office, the dogwood that the parish planted when I was installed as rector just popped. The blooms have only just begun to open. They still have a greenish color, with perhaps a hint of pigment on the outer tips of the petals. Spring has, both proverbially and truly, sprung.

There is also a light rain, badly needed, giving the ground a gentle soak. So, on top of the blooming, there is also that particular, heavy and organic tone to the air. Something loamy and dark and moist. Instead of the harsher grays and blues and browns of winter that dominate in the area, the yellows, pinks and lighter greens of new growth are asserting themselves...and even in the shadow of the rains, there is a suffusing glow of life pushing itself in.

A very Good Friday. Both depressing and hopeful.

Most Good Fridays leave me with a sense of memory from when I was a kid and we would visit my grandfather/mother when they were running the funeral home. On particular days, I called them "funeral days" there would be a crystalline quality to the moment. Didn't matter, really, if it was raining, or snowing or even sunny. What mattered, I think, was that I was picking up on people and their own projections of grief.

When someone dies, we try to hold on to as many moments as we can. We don't want time to pass too quickly. Memory become important. Like taking pictures, our minds try to freeze a moment, a perspective in order to hold on to a breath of eternity. Even as the hours and minutes click by, even as the funeral gathering transforms into the moment of burial, into the reception and the ham sandwiches...Even then, we try to freeze the moment.

Good Fridays are like that for me: funeral days. I try to freeze the moment. Hold off the final grief. Still the anxieties, sadnesses and fears about losing Jesus to the Cross, yet again. Still, the day ends. The Fast breaks. We turn the page on another year and begin to renew, revive and find again the hints of life. Soon, the stone will roll away. But for now, for now we hold the moment in crystal stillness. Now is loss.

Now is Good Friday.

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