Resurrection

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I admit, I am a bit remiss in commemorating the most important day in history on this old blog of mine.  But I hope you all can forgive me.

After all, that’s kind of the point of Easter.  Forgiveness.  And with it, unimaginable joy.  The single astonishing fact that everything changes.  Everything.  We become unrecognizably (Luke 24:15-16) new in that forgiveness, since we share in the life of Him who rose.

It’s impossible to over-emphasize how important the Resurrection is.  It is the very essence of Christianity, its core.  And it is the most unimaginable thing. Impossible even.  Except, nothing is impossible for God.

Some people say these are dark days for Christianity.  And in some ways, maybe they are.  Much time is spent defending the Faith.  I admire such efforts, but the formal apologist in me, perhaps from naïveté, perhaps not, is already weary.  The poet in me wonders…

There are plenty of good arguments for God’s existence.  There’s even one good one for His nonexistence.  We can debate it all day.  We can argue Biblical literalism until the cows come home.  We can pit faith against reason (though admittedly that’s a downright stupid debate) for years.  Do we ever get anywhere?  Maybe?  Or In the end, do we all end up believing what we want to believe?

It tires me sometimes.  I want to lock myself in the Upper Room and let Him wash my feet.  I long for the grace to die to myself, leaving everything with Him on the cross.  I want to run away, to fly, borne on His wings, to home, to heaven.  But there is work to be done.  Is it the work of aligning words into armies?  I never was a warrior…  Shall I try harder?  Or try to live, to love so splendidly by His grace that my life becomes my weapon, a weapon of non-destruction, a contradiction and an oxymoron?  A weapon of self-sacrifice?

You can call me a hopeless romantic, sacrificing my intellect and potential, a slave to my emotion.  But as I gaze at the Paschal fire, I am filled with a sudden childlike wonder that surpasses mere happenstance.  Moments such as that enshrine a strangely sacred and primal recognition of a startling reality, something more than mere emotion.

Peace.  Oh, peace somehow.  That all might know Him.  Until then they will wonder why we laughter at the cold, cruel night.  But we will laugh.  And we will cry.  And our shouts will become the intersections, science and religion, faith and reason, atheist and theist, real and yet beyond real, Body and Blood, brother and sister, all, all one in His love.  For He lives, undeniably, not as a memory, but literally.  And He’s calling,

Calling…

“Follow me.”

Crucifixion

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Shroud rent in two
News which lately
Breaks us
The longest day
I left you so
Early
Be near me:
I forget sometimes…
Lee Highway frightens me
It glows
A sudden sheet of chrome
Lightning
Erases the sky
Less than an instant
Yin and yang
Life, terror
Darkness

Eucharist

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Wonder Bread
I put it in my cart
With the cheap wine,
Styrofoam plates
Change left over
For a film, I think

Everything you asked for
Supermarket coupons
Clipped precisely
No fuss, no worries
Stashed in my pocketbook
For a rainy day
Only the cheapest

Somehow you take
These name-brand hilarities:
All I offer you
And mold a sacrament
From what is hardly bread
As at Cana,
Blood in place of Beringer
A chalice of suffering
More precious than
Paper cups filled with
Mindless laughter

And the laughter leaves me
Like Job, penniless
He says
“Have you considered
Professional foot-washing?”

Brief Thoughts on the Triduum

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At long last we have come to the pinnacle of the liturgical year: the Paschal Triduum.  Herein we commemorate the three most important days in all of history.

Not everyone observes the Triduum, or Lent for that matter.  However, I think to ignore them completely is missing out on quite a bit of the story.  Yes, the focus of our lives is the Resurrection, that one essential, joyous, incredible thing on which our faith is founded.  But the road to Easter joy leads through tears and agony.  It leads through the desert, to the cross.  To rise from the dead, He had to die first.

Well, He didn’t have to.  But He did.  And for that we owe Him everything.

Moreover, there is a profound and important message to be found in the Last Supper.  It was on this night that Jesus gave us His very Body and Blood.  Like, for real, how crazy is that?  None of us deserve that in the least, but that’s how much He wants to be unified with Him.

It was on this night that He washed the feet of His disciples and told us to do likewise.  No matter what circumstances, no matter how we feel about them, we are called to wash the feet of the Baptist, the Catholic, the Jew, the Muslim, the Hindu, the Buddhist, the agnostic, the atheist, the farmer, the rich CEO, the thief, the drug addict, the stinky through-hiker, the person everyone hangs out with, the person no one will talk to, the easliy-angered, the class clown, the nerd, the philanthropist, the terrorist.

A tall order.  And in the end, there’s only one Way by which we can hope to accomplish it.

Then there is the pain of Good Friday.  The shame, the ridicule, the mockery, borne with such long-suffering.  And we are told that, to some degree, we are called to share in this suffering.  To our pragmatic minds, this is a highly ridiculous idea.  And maybe it would be…

Except, Good Friday is not the end.  It seemed like it was.  For hours that seemed like an eternity, there was silence.  The silence of death.  And then… God called a plot twist.

And so it is that we arrive at Easter Vigil, when aroused from our sleep, we gather amidst the darkness, dazed, confused, disheartened, until a spark illumines the night, firelight frightening the troops of death returning in victory.  They stop dead in their tracks.  And a light is born that will never die.

No, you misunderstand me, like, a real fire, from which we light the candles of our soul and process into the sanctuary.  We Catholics are such daredevils.

Solemn yet joyous, a proclamation: HE LIVES!

Presents, Coincidences, and a Silly Poem

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Last month I joked about postponing my birthday to March because the polar vortex caused everything else to have been.

So now it’s March.  Winter has… at least tentatively… gone away, the sun is shining, and I guess it must be my birthday again.  We finally got to enjoy my brother’s culinary expertise and knock the second performance of our choir’s Valentines’ Day show out of the ballpark.  (Despite it being a month since being on stage, everyone did wonderfully.  *breathes sigh of relief*)

But the coincidences don’t end there.  Right around a month ago, Death Cab released the second single from their upcoming album.  Almost like a birthday present.  :D  And now the entire album is streaming at NPR’s First Listen series until it’s officially released next Tuesday.  Check it out here.  (Highlights: “No Room in Frame”, aka Pleasantly Upbeat Track, “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive” aka FINALLY They Are Rocking and Rolling, “Good Help (Is So Hard to Find)” aka All of a Sudden It’s the 80’s Again.)

Oh, and same thing for Sufjan Stevens’ new album.  *happy-dances faster*  I’ve only listened to the first track so far, but it seems pretty promising.

Finally, I leave you with my love and prayers for every good thing for you all, and a silly haiku I scribbled in my Chemistry notebook the other day.

Sliced Bread

Ingenuity!
Ready for sandwiches!  They
Need eat cake no more.

That’s all, folks.  God bless you.  :)  Sweet dreams…

Deathbed

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Who says the Christian music scene can’t have 11-minute long epic pièces de résistance?

No one!

Granted, in my experience they are few and far between.  Okay, this is the only one I’ve found to date.  But Relient K gets major artist points for telling the story of an man’s entire life and conversion while holding your attention for over three times longer than most of the other songs on this record.  And they do so with few bumps along the way.

It would be really super cool to see some mainstream Christian artists taking that kind of risk.

(If you find it slow at first, things really kick into gear at 1:17.)