Friday 21 March 2008

Endless Love — Unrequited?

Good Friday, and three hours at Chesham Parish Church. Commercialising Good Friday raises puritan hackles in me I didn’t know I had. However, the John Wayne 1950’s Big Deal interpretation of the Crucifixion over dramatises a killing, that was originally an everyday event surrounded by bustling crowds on an ordinary shopping day.

Three hours meditation at Chesham Parish Church — with, at times, an almost full and very thoughtful congregation. For the past twenty years I have always, at some point on Good Friday, simply read the passion according to Saint John from the Authorized version in its entirety. I find I become more drawn in, personally, as from reading to reading. This year I was especially struck by the way Pilate the scared bunny grows throughout the narrative out of Pilate the efficient arm’s length bureaucrat. Indifference gives way to terror!
I am the great sun, but you do not see me,
I am your husband, but you turn away.
I am the captive, but you do not free me,
I am the captain you will not obey.

I am the truth, but you will not believe me,
I am the city where you will not stay.
I am your wife, your child, but you will leave me,
I am that God to whom you will not pray.

I am your counsel, but you will not hear me,
I am your lover whom you will betray.
I am the victor, but you do not cheer me,
I am the holy dove whom you will slay.

I am your life, but if you will not name me,
Seal up your soul with tears, and never blame me.
Charles Causley
From a Normandy crucifix of 1632
Illustration: Francisco Delgado mural (Church of the Sacred Heart, El Paso, TX)

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