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Posts tagged "Good Friday"

The Beautiful Truth of Collateral Beauty

The Beautiful Truth of Collateral Beauty

In the Gospel reading appointed for Good Friday, Pilate asks Jesus, “What is truth?” He seems to really want to know. He seems to be searching for an answer to explain this bruised and beaten Jew standing before him and the chaotic scene outside in his courtyard. And the truth is what we come to church seeking each Good Friday. With Pilate we ask, “What is truth?” We show up before God on the day commemorating Christ’s death for us, asking such questions as, Why was this necessary? Why did God have to die for us? Why would God die for…

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Sharks in the Water: In the Event of a Failure (on Good Friday)

Sharks in the Water: In the Event of a Failure (on Good Friday)

I come from a pretty competitive family, so it should have been no surprise to find them enjoying the latest season of Shark Tank. Of this show’s many seductions — the edge-of-your-seat deliberations, the outlandish pitches (looking at you, Pinot Meow) — the biggest hook may be the sense of judgment hovering throughout each episode: a trembling entrepreneur stands up and pitches his or her idea before a squad of potential investors — the sharks! — who decide whether or not the business is worth their money.

The show’s producer, Mark Burnett, made an appearance at Unpolished 2015, an entrepreneurship conference described by Mya Frazier in her recent Bloomberg article, “What Would Jesus Disrupt?”…

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A (Prose) Poem for Good Friday: “Decency” by Czeslaw Milosz

“When I was, as they say, in harmony with God and the world, I felt I was false, pretending to be somebody else. I recovered my identity when I found myself again in the skin of a sinner and nonbeliever. This repeated itself in my life several times. For, undoubtedly, I liked the image of myself as a decent man, but, immediately after I put that mask on, my conscience whispered that I was deceiving others and myself.

“The notion of sacrum is necessary but impossible without experiencing sin. I am dirty, I am a sinner, I am unworthy, and not even because of my behavior but because of the evil sitting in me. And only when I conceded that it was not for me to reach so high have I felt that I was genuine.”

President Jesus and Holy Week, Part II

President Jesus and Holy Week, Part II

Back in 2008, the New Monastic figurehead Shane Claiborne wrote a generally well received book titled “Jesus for President,” riffing off Woody Guthrie’s folk tune “Christ for President.” In the book, Claiborne argued that American Christianity was too invested in the American political system and, as a result, ignoring a significant amount of Jesus’s moral teachings. The title seems to have stuck- “Jesus for President” – and perhaps it’s just my carefully curated Twitter feed, but the phrase seems to be making a comeback again in 2016.

It’s an understandable sentiment: many Christians are scratching their head this year regarding the…

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A Poem for Good Friday – Emily Dickinson (#622)

To know just how He suffered — would be dear —
To know if any Human eyes were near
To whom He could entrust His wavering gaze —
Until it settle broad — on Paradise —

106friedTo know if He was patient — part content —
Was Dying as He thought — or different —
Was it a pleasant Day to die —
And did the Sunshine face his way —

What was His furthest mind — Of Home — or God —
Or what the Distant say —
At news that He ceased Human Nature
Such a Day —

And Wishes — Had He Any —
Just His Sigh — Accented —
Had been legible — to Me —
And was He Confident until
Ill fluttered out — in Everlasting Well —

And if He spoke — What name was Best —
What last
What One broke off with
At the Drowsiest —

Was He afraid — or tranquil —
Might He know
How Conscious Consciousness — could grow —
Till Love that was — and Love too best to be —
Meet — and the Junction be Eternity

Legalism, Gnosticism, and Resurrection: An Easter Reflection

Legalism, Gnosticism, and Resurrection: An Easter Reflection

Some people have said that the ‘grace message’ can tend toward Gnosticism. Luther’s exposition of St. Paul’s distrust of the Law can feel like a distrust of the restored, peaceful world to which the Law bears witness. The most extreme interpretations of Luther’s “two kingdoms”, with Christianity’s oft-implied indifference to temporal matters, does nothing to help the problem. And the best modern adaptations of his theology have often been indebted to existentialism, or progenitors of it. The Kierkegaard of the Postscript immediately springs to mind (pseudonymously Johannes Climacus), who argued that world-history is a distraction, and the most important thing to…

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W.H. Auden Was There on Good Friday

This one has been making the rounds a bit recently, but fortunately no amount of familiarity can detract from its power. From Wystan’s long out of print ‘commonplace book’ A Certain World:

daisy_nookJust as we are all, potentially, in Adam when he fell, so we were all, potentially, in Jerusalem on that first Good Friday before there was an Easter, a Pentecost, a Christian, or a Church. It seems to me worthwhile asking ourselves who we should have been and what we should have been doing. None of us, I’m certain, will imagine himself as one of the Disciples, cowering in agony of spiritual despair and physical terror. Very few of us are big wheels enough to see ourselves as Pilate, or good churchmen enough to see ourselves as a member of the Sanhedrin. In my most optimistic mood I see myself as a Hellenized Jew from Alexandria visiting an intellectual friend. We are walking along, engaged in philosophical argument. Our path takes us past the base of Golgotha. Looking up, we see an all too familiar sight – three crosses surrounded by a jeering crowd. Frowning with prim distaste, I say, ‘It’s disgusting the way the mob enjoy such things. Why can’t the authorities execute people humanely and in private by giving them hemlock to drink, as they did with Socrates?’ Then, averting my eyes from the disagreeable spectacle, I resume our fascinating discussion about the True, the Good and the Beautiful.

What We Want/What We Get: Imagination and Holy Week

What We Want/What We Get: Imagination and Holy Week

The friendly overtures of a person whom we no longer love, overtures which strike us, in our indifference to her, as excessive, would perhaps have fallen a long way short of satisfying our love. Those tender speeches, that invitation or acceptance, we think only of the pleasure which they would have given us, and not of all those speeches and meetings by which we would have wished to see them immediately followed, which we should, as likely as not, simply by our avidity for them, have precluded from ever happening. So that we can never be certain that the good…

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Francis Spufford's Good Friday: Communication, Emotion, and Atonement

Francis Spufford’s Good Friday: Communication, Emotion, and Atonement

Continuing our recent flurry of (irresistible) Francis Spufford posts, his writing on Jesus in Unapologetic [spoiler alert!] is some of the most fresh I’ve ever read. Thornton Wilder called for “new persuasive words“, and Spufford’s imaginative, playful (non-)apology for Christianity gives the kind of new angle on old news that any writer or theologian could envy. Here we turn to Christ’s death and resurrection, and Spufford’s attempt to circumvent loaded, often-difficult intellectual language to address the emotions:

He cannot do anything deliberate now. The strain of his whole weight on his outstretched arms hurts too much…And yet he goes on taking in. It…

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Through the Wire: A Reading From the Post-Punk Gospel

Through the Wire: A Reading From the Post-Punk Gospel

Wire’s initial three albums have long been favorites of mine, especially the first and the third. The debut album, Pink Flag, employed punk minimalism and acidity with a slyly absurd literal-ism, while completely throwing out punk’s reliance on traditional rock n’ roll song structure. It’s fast and fun and leaves you off kilter in a way you don’t quite get at first. The third album, 154, is to me the consummate post-punk album, more so than say the usual suggestions of something by the Gang of Four, Joy Division or Pere Ubu. It’s polished and often desolate art rock (cold…

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Good Friday: Getting The Answer You Didn’t Want

As powerful as it possibly gets from the new Archbishop of Canterbury. I defy you not to feel:

The Day of All Days: Reflections on Haydn's "The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour On The Cross"

The Day of All Days: Reflections on Haydn’s “The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour On The Cross”

This morning, we are honored to bring you original commentary on the meaning of Good Friday by the inestimable Paul Walker, written as part of a special broadcast of Joseph Haydn’s “The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour On the Cross” on WTJU-Charlottesville, 91.1 FM. For those unfamiliar with the piece, it was commissioned by the Canon of Cadiz in 1786 for the Good Friday service at the Church of Santa Cueva in Cadiz, Spain, and the performance below was recorded in the very same place.

Good Friday is the day of all days for Christians. Yes, there is Christmas and…

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