Advent Vigil

232_Barrick_Advent_Purple_72_dpiFor Jack, Annie, Tom, and Grace

This is not the Advent I anticipated,
The one with three purple candles and one pink
The one with meditating on the birth of the Christ child
and pondering the meaning of the Incarnation
It isn’t that Advent

It is an Advent
with picturing my mother holding Baby Jesus
the way she holds any baby she can
And delighting in Him
And having a moment of joy

It is an Advent with a flurry of bushtits landing in the small tree in the courtyard
Angels in disguise
Chirping some song I assume to be good news though I cannot understand it
But they seem to happy in their trilling, and good news is in short supply
They’re gone when the hummingbird finds the Mexican Sage,
the one thing around here observing the purple of the season

It is an Advent with stars leading the way to places unknown
To people who have Gone On
With wondering if he’ll join the meteor shower and fly through the night sky
Or catch the tail of the too-close comet
And leave us

It is a season of waiting
For a death and not a birth –
But not an Eliot death.*
No one is clutching the old dispensation here
No one is really clutching anything

We are, rather, letting go of someone we have loved
Of someone who has loved us in return

It is a holy season
But not the one I expected

mexican sage

* T. S. Eliot, Journey of the Magi, excerpted:

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down

This:
Were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

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Holy Week

Holy week is

fits and starts.

The rush to get all the information in, to choose the scripture, choose the hymns, update the publicity; Maundy Thursday prep: check; Good Fridayprep:check;SaturdayprepcheckEasterSundayprepcheckaretherenougheggsforthechildren’stalk dowehavenoughenvelopesfortheofferingwhenisthebrassrehearsingandwillthatconflictwiththe placementofflowersandwhowilldrapethecrossandwhowilltaketheddrapeoffandarethebatteriesworking

Yes to all.  So we are ready.

 

And then

the waiting

 

The waiting for inspiration or the Spirit or my muse to show up and, you know, inspire

Waiting to set hands to keyboard, pen to paper, mouth to microphone

 

But really

it’s the rush of accusations, arrest, trial

rush of adrenaline watching the agony

rush to get things done before the sabbath comes

 

and then

waiting

 

waiting for the cold stone tomb to receive her most precious gift

waiting for the mystery, the light, life,

waiting for resurrection

 

Resurrection comes in fits and starts, too.

Too early in the morning, but they bring their spices anyway

No stone, no body, but angels

The women believe, the men do not

Silence

Then Peter looks in

and rushes home

amazed.

 

Fits and starts

and endings and beginnings

and

life

Triduum

WAFT

They say that smell is the last sense to go.

And if

the last thing I could smell before I died was freshly baked bread

I might say that I would die a happy woman.

The smell changes, from the spongy-saucy tang of yeast

to something whole and warm and comforting

butter and honey only make it all the more sublime, swooped

on while almost too hot to touch.

Bread of life

ACHE

I don’t really want to think about Good Friday this year.

too much death of late –

Children and teachers at an elementary school.  Two beloved parishioners.  A college roommate.  Two infants.

Enough, I say.  Enough of you, death.  Get you gone, go away, don’t come back, leave the people I love alone.

That is the point, of course.

Death comes and takes us all away.

We scour the empty places

but they remain unfilled.

WAIT

Manet’s two angels captured it, adorned in their cobalt blue wings;

one dressed in the color of dried blood, weeping.

The other, in burnt orange, hair lifted by an unseen breeze,

waiting

watching the horizon for

Life.

Waiting for the eggs to cook so we can dye them.

Waiting for the child to go to sleep so we can prepare her easter basket.

Waiting for that last burst of inspiration for the sermon.

Waiting for Easter to come.

Waiting for God to do the work of God.

Waiting with

impatience and

hope and

a sense of the familiar.

Manet's Dead Christ with Angels

Manet’s Dead Christ with Angels