Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | May 7, 2008

What’s for Dinner…. Again

The shift from Lent to Holy Week brought great anticipation, long services, lots of new instructions for altar servers (we managed to “get” about half), aching feet… the usual. Mostly, the pace picked up… even as the bod’ wore down. For me, it also brought to mind the sounds of Aaron Copland’s Rodeo with Robert Mitchum’s voice-over: “Meat… it’s what’s for dinner!” But I’m getting ahead of myself. By far, one of my favorite parts remains St. John Chrysostom’s Easter Homily:

“Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.”

Though translations vary, hearing these words on this my second Paschal feast, and this year’s second Easter, refocused the mind from preparation and not… to the centrality of sharing in the Resurrection. It goes straight to the heart. No fooling around, no fancy language, just straight up. And yet remains a language of love… the same we would offer, or should on seeing the image and likeness of God in our loved ones, our neighbors… even (and especially) our enemies and those who mean us ill….for yielding to the heavenly within seems the heart of our faith.

This year, the Paschal services shifted from a sense of newness in the sense of “strange” and “unexpected” to one more of wonder and joy. Surely this was fed by the vision of joy so clearly registered on Father’s face and especially in his eyes as he sang the words to one of his favorite pieces at the start of the vigil (“This night…”, “This night…”), and again upon reading St. John’s homily as we pressed on. Yes, surely this night will remain blessed, treasured and pondered in my heart for some time.

And as simple as it sounds, the long anticipation and ultimately the joy of breaking the Lenten Fast – and breaking it together – through the sharing of the sumptuous, fleshy foods on which we feasted… clearly captures something I can’t say I had noticed in my earlier worship… not that it wasn’t there… simply that without emphasis it escaped me. For breaking the fast in this way brings more than refreshment, and offers a real sense of restoration, and an to end our separation from that which sustains our life – even as we have been separated from the Lord and Master of All. And even if only for a short time, and even if only in a measured way, we have nevertheless endured… maybe even at times with grace and patience. But now, we are released from suffering… another night of beans and beans and beans… and whatever. Alleluia! Hood-ah!

What a night! What a great day! What a happy sacrifice! What a release! Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen! Happy Bright Week to all!

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