Sabbath II, 1988 — Wendell Berry
It is the destruction of the world
in our own lives
that drives us half insane, and more than half.
To destroy that which we were given
in trust: how will we bear it?
It is our own bodies that we give
to be broken,
our bodies existing before and after us
in clod and cloud, worm and tree,
that we, driving or driven, despise
in our greed to live, our haste
to die. To have lost, wantonly,
the ancient forests, the vast grasslands
in our madness, the presence
in our very bodies of our grief.
VISUAL POEM: Stripped from BibleProject: https://youtu.be/VHUBFfEzpEU
The adjective so often coupled with mercy is the word tender, but God’s mercy is not tender; this mercy is a blunt instrument. Mercy doesn’t wrap a warm, limp blanket around offenders. God’s mercy is the kind that kills the thing that wronged it and resurrects something new in its place.— Nadia Bolz-Weber
SONGS about CRUCIFIXION & the CROSS:
- Were You There When They Crucified My Lord? performed by Mahalia Jackson (Christian): https://youtu.be/3ji7eP7k8cA
- Via Dolorosa by Sandi Patti (Christian/classical): https://youtu.be/7asEdmZsSPo
- Crucifixion by Marian Anderson (1930s Gospel): https://youtu.be/C-EsGNikJU4
- The Old Rugged Cross by Redeemed Quartet (country/Christian): https://youtu.be/YGAHQr_DirY
- We Believe in Newsboys (Christian): https://youtu.be/WjZ01FcK0ykhttps://youtu.be/WjZ01FcK0yk
- Go To Dark Gethsemane by Concordia Publishing (Christian): https://youtu.be/y4_2WI4guKI
- The Crucifixion performed by Sarah Champion from Hermit Songs by Samuel Barbe (classical/opera): https://youtu.be/AlxuB3HfAnI
- Above All by Michael Smith (Christian pop): https://youtu.be/ChtSMj7QVno
- Never Forsaken by Hillsong (Christian): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djCpJPnBy6E
- Rescue by Lauren Daigle (Christian): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgkNB4939YM
- Mighty Cross by Elevation Worship (Christian): https://youtu.be/yI_SQrRUOt0
- Thank You for Choosing the Cross by Garreth Trent (Christian): https://youtu.be/zAGan-VA6JIhttps://youtu.be/zAGan-VA6JI
- Mighty Cross by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir (Christian): https://youtu.be/Qd7U7pTUNc4
- The Cross of Christ by Vinesong (Christian/Celtic): https://youtu.be/hwvkwivDuNo
- Crucified with Christ by Phillips Craig and Dean (Christian): https://youtu.be/_0_1jazh454
- When I Survey the Wondrous Cross by Choir of Kings Cross (Christian hymn): https://youtu.be/mDkuxEIcpdI
- On the Cross by HosannaCFEugene: https://youtu.be/61yRkchJk4A
In Blackwater Woods (excerpt)— Mary Oliver
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones
knowing your own life
depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
VIDEO POEM: From Tree to Cross: https://youtu.be/aQPVqcNVfM0
COMMENTARY on the GRIEF, the CROSS and HOLY FRIDAY
so it came time and
no day like that is ever
good in the coming
― Deborah Landau
To each one of us Christ is saying: If you want your life and mission to be fruitful, like mine, do as I do. Be converted into a seed that lets itself be buried. Let yourself be killed. Do not be afraid. Those who shun suffering will remain alone. No one is more alone than the selfish. But if you give your life out of love for others, as I give mine for all, you will reap a great harvest. — Oscar Romero
It was where, of course, the ultimate cry of human longing ran headlong into the silence of God, and was left, the cry was left out there like a huge, red hook trying to reach up into the heavens, but nothing received it. It’s a day of being touched by the void; it’s the day of the abyss. — John O’Donohue about Holy Friday
Good Friday is not about us trying to “get right with God.” It is about us entering the difference between God and humanity and just touching it for a moment. Touching the shimmering sadness of humanity’s insistence that we can be our own gods, that we can be pure and all-powerful. ― Nadia Bolz-Weber
And I felt like my heart had been so thoroughly and irreparably broken that there could be no real joy again, that at best there might eventually be a little contentment. Everyone wanted me to get help and rejoin life, pick up the pieces and move on, and I tried to, I wanted to, but I just had to lie in the mud with my arms wrapped around myself, eyes closed, grieving, until I didn’t have to anymore. ― Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions:
What happens at the cross is a “blessed exchange.” God gathers up all our sin, all our broken-ass junk, into God’s own self and transforms all that death into life. Jesus takes our crap and exchanges it for his blessedness. — Nadia Bolz-Weber
[Jesus dying on the cross] brings us face to face with the finality of defeat. Sometimes things don’t have a happy ending in life. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we’re beaten. Sometimes we’re lost. Sometimes we’re humiliated. Sometimes we’re misunderstood. Sometimes we are abandoned by the very people we love most in life and whom we thought also loved us. At that point, without doubt, something in us dies. There’s not going back to things as they were before. Then doors close in our hearts and the old breath goes out of us and all we can do is to surrender to the dark. It is not a pretty moment. It can take all the energy we have.
Am I able to accept the daily deaths of life, both the great ones and the small, knowing that death is not the end of life, only its passing over to something new in me? Hopefully, I learn from the Jesus who gave up himself, his mission, his life in ways that all seemed totally wrong, that the deaths I die may bring new life to the world around me as well.— Sr Joan Chittister
On the Day I Die — Rumi
On the day I die,
when I’m being carried
toward the grave,
don’t weep. Don’t say,
He’s gone! He’s gone.
Death has nothing
to do with going away.
The sun sets
and the moon sets,
but they’re not gone.
Death is a coming together.
looks like a prison,
but it’s really
release into union.
The human seed goes
down in the ground
like a bucket into
the well where Joseph is.
It grows and
comes up full of some
Your mouth closes here,
opens with a
shout of joy there.
It Can’t Be Carried Alone” — Fr Richard Rohr (response to the collective suffering of the people of Ukraine).
How can we not feel shock or rage at what is happening
to the people of Ukraine—
As we watch their suffering unfold in real time
from an unfair distance?
Who of us does not feel inept or powerless
before such manifest evil? In this, at least, we are united.
Our partisan divisions now appear small and trivial.
Remember what we teach: both evil and goodness are,
first of all, social phenomena.
The Body of Christ is crucified and resurrected
at the same time. May we stand faithfully
Inside both these mysteries (contemplation).
In loving solidarity, we each bear what is ours to carry,
the unjust weight of crucifixion,
in expectant hope for God’s transformation.
May we be led to do what we can on any level (action)
to create resurrection
When Death Comes — Mary Oliver
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
Your Excellency […]
Tonight, with the world in doubt, with this Commonwealth drawing into its lungs with every breath the difficult air of doubt, with the eyes of Europe turned westward upon Massachusetts and upon the whole United States in distress and harrowing doubt — are you still so sure? Does no faintest shadow of question gnaw at your mind? For, indeed, your spirit, however strong, is but the frail spirit of a man. Have you no need, in this hour, of a spirit greater than your own?
Think back. Think back a long time. Which way would He have turned, this Jesus of your faith? — Oh, not the way in which your feet are set!
You promise me, and I believe you truly, that you would think of what I said. I exact of you this promise now. Be for a moment alone with yourself. Look inward upon yourself. Let fall from your harassed mind all, all save this: which way would He have turned, this Jesus of your faith?
I cry to you with a million voices: answer our doubt. Exert the clemency which your high office affords.
There is need in Massachusetts of a great man tonight. It is not yet too late for you to be that man.
— Edna St. Vincent Millay, letter to governor of Massachusetts
… And you are right; it is well to forget that men die. So far we have devised no way to defeat death, or to outwit him, or to buy him over. At any moment the cloud may split above us and the golden spear of death leap at the heart; at any moment the earth crack and the hand of death reach up from the abyss to grasp our ankles; at any moment the wind rise and sweep the roofs from our houses, making one dust of our ceilings and ourselves. And if not, we shall die soon, anyhow. It is well to forget that this is so.
But that man before his time, wantonly and without sorrow, is thrust from the light of the sun into the darkness of the grave by his brother’s blindness or fear it is well to remember, at least until it has been shown to the satisfaction of all that this too is beyond our power to change…
These men were castaways upon our shore, and we, an ignorant and savage tribe, have put them to death because their speech and their manners were different from our own, and because to the untutored mind that which is strange is in its infancy ludicrous, but in its prime evil, dangerous, and to be done away with.
These men were put to death because they made you nervous; and your children know it. The minds of your children are like clear pools, reflecting faithfully whatever passes on the bank; whereas in the pool of your own mind, whenever an alien image bends above, a fish of terror leaps to meet it, shattering its reflection.
— Edna St Vincent Millay, November 9, 1927, The Outlook: “Fear”
Photograph from September 11th
translated by Clare Cavanagh and
They jumped from the burning floors—
one, two, a few more,
The photograph halted them in life,
and now keeps them
above the earth toward the earth.
Each is still complete,
with a particular face
and blood well hidden.
There’s enough time
for hair to come loose,
for keys and coins
to fall from pockets.
They’re still within the air’s reach,
within the compass of places
that have just now opened.
I can do only two things for them—
describe this flight
and not add a last line.