Saturday, April 07, 2007

Losing Light

From a brief Skype im-chat with my mother, who is currently at an internet cafe:

"We have had no electricity since Wednesday, and before that only half current a few hours and 3 hours one least since last weekend. It all blurs together after a while!"

From an email, she sent:

"I talked to a NITEL (telephone) person and he said although they have all their new equipment installed and ready to launch, they will hold off until after the election. If the wrong party gets in, all their investment may be in vain. NITEL was privatized a year ago, and they are afraid the new administration may take it all back over. They want to conserve as much as their investment as possible. (Our phone has not worked since Christmas.)"

God, help us through this election. I pray for peace, for stability, for life.

In my holy week meditations, I've read the accounts of Christ's crucifixion in the book of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I am struck (as I read the footnotes in my study Bible) by the absolute brutality--indeed barbarity--of the crucifixion (and, no, i have not seen the Mel Gibson movie so this is all my own imagination of the event).

Nails through the wrists and ankles. Hoisting a man up, naked, until he bleeds to death and loses the strength to hold himself up. The crucified one knows he will die, but instinctually keeps pushing himself up. The humiliation of dying in front of harsh eyes like that, naked, flayed flesh, the most private bodily functions bared to those who view you, if not with hatred, with a dispassionate boredom.

And so God died this way, in the most humiliating and brutal execution devised by men.

The only perfect being to ever live.

He said:

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23: 34)

He said to the "robber" (or the notes say perhaps he was an insurgent) who asked him to "remember me when you come into your kingdom": "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43).

As he was dying, he said:

“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”— “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:45)

He said to his mother:

“Dear woman, here is your son;” and to John “Here is your mother.” (John 19:26).

He said:

“I am thirsty” (John 19:28)

He said:

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23: 46 )

He said:

“It is finished.” (John 19:30)

And as he died, the earth trembled and the sun lost its light, the ancient curtain in the temple, the thickness of a man's hand, ripped from top to bottom.

And for those who loved him, his mother, John, the other Marys, those watching him die and those who wept in dark rooms as the earth shook under them, it must have seemed the end of the world.

And, it was.

The next day, was the Sabbath, the day that God rested.

And the next day, when the light crept inward, through the darkness of stone, the light burst outward, the stone could not contain it. God began to create the world anew.

This is the way I tell the story.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it." (John 1:1-3)

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