Not Chronos, Kairos: Were you there?

Did my level best to avoid the crush of big deals on Good Friday, hoping for a peaceable gathering to say the stations of the cross.  So many traditions abandoned.  A text full of clever ‘relevancies,’ of the sort that drove the pious from the church in tears in the wake of Vatican II.  All stayed right where they were in the pews.  Would it be too much to ask those gathered to walk the stations as has been the custom for so long?  Did not think that I would be one to long for tradition, but I did.  Likewise I longed for the kid in the pew ahead of me to stop banging around.  My concentration was so broken I felt compelled to mention it.  Great offense was taken.  How dare I take note of the child’s persistent, insistent rudeness?

So it is not unfair to say that I suffered on Good Friday, in whatever minor ways came my way, including bureaucracy within banking.

But on to the point.  The spiritual and the Ignatian traditions invite us to visit the scene of the Crucifixion, to walk the walk, smell the blood, feel the pain, endure the anguish, and, finally, to lose our friend.  To be enveloped in darkness and quaking and the rending of the temple veil.  Not our time versus old times, but time transcendent, when all things happen, when we are present in our love and loss and complicity and confusion and sorrow.

And what did you do, member of the crowd?  Were you there cheering for death?   Were you there hoping against hope for deliverance?  Did you wish you could stay the proceedings but feared to act?  Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

This photograph embodies the darkness with hope still radiant over the hill.  The link that follows provides historical information about that treasured hymn.



19th Century African American Spiritual: Were You There?


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