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Holey Week

Good Saturday

Good Saturday

 

It wasn’t good for us

Maybe not for God

Maybe God was weeping, too,

Though could not be hiding

Part of God was buried, though

Unless the strategy to

Harrow hell is more than

A medieval story

 

But first followers have no hope

Today

Jesus is gone, buried quickly

Inside a sabbath regulation,

A guard set to keep anyone from

Trying anything

 

But disciples are not ghouls

The body did not matter, anymore

Except that there were those

Who though the body

Should be spiced,

A practical and spiritual

Measure

 

Hopeless people might not

Have cared

Jesus was gone, the movement failed

Neither the zealots nor the

Gentler ones could have their way

From him

No that there wasn’t drama:

Judas took his money, then

Destroyed his own part

In everything

 

Maybe there were those who had

If in a maudlin way

Celebrated political victory

Death of the teacher

Who had rabble-roused

And inconvenienced leadership

If only in the heart

 

Herod who lived

Might be pleased

He could set up the cross next to

The platter also soaked in blood

A museum to the worldly-

Minded

And, to those who know,

An emptiness of soul

 

Who were the followers?

Where were they?

It seemed they fled

No one among them moved

Except some women and

A young man

Nothing threatening there

 

The Earth hides quietly today

Maybe the sun will bathe

The hilltop of Golgotha

Maybe rain will do even more

To cleanse

 

The people who are left

They have no faith

No hope

They have forgotten anything about

What could happen next

They are tired, frightened, aware of

Their parts as outcasts and outlaws

 

Only a few hold on to strings of prophecy

Maybe remembering the life, the

Healings, the lessons from their teacher

But he is bodily gone

This is the dreaded day in-between

Only they don’t know

There is another side

 

C L Couch

 

 

Photo by Jordan Christian on Unsplash

Beartooth Highway, United States

 

Holey Week 7

 

Feel It

Feel It

(think it through)

 

We call it Good Friday,

I’m not sure why

Because it was good for us that

Jesus died and,

Like the best sin-eater that he was—

King for a day and fool

In the world’s eyes—he

Consumed our sins in

Ignoble majesty,

A perfect person without sin himself,

And died

 

Otherwise, we should call it

What it was, the

Awful Friday

Terrible in blood and wood and metal,

The sounds of weeping

And of cursing,

‘Til the sun stopped shining and the

Earth was split

Because he died

 

I sit sipping ginger ale and

Nibbling toast, while

I try to write;

This

Is no version of the meal

That instigated things, though

We call it “last”

 

If I want, I may take part

In re-living and remembering this

At church

 

There is no last for me

Or you,

As there was for him

Though we might feel it in

Fear and isolation

 

There is something more—frankly,

I’m not sure

What it is exactly—and

 

We can have it

(inexactly)

Because there was this

Good death today

 

C L Couch

 

 

Photo by Ave Calvar on Unsplash

 

Holey Week 6

 

Maundy, Maundy

Maundy, Maundy

 

They had a loving supper

We know, because Jesus said to

Love each other

Many will have the same in remembrance

This night

Jews have a special supper sometimes near

This time

 

The importance of meals

As a bachelor, sometimes I don’t appreciate

The value

Of the family with friends or guests

Sharing food and drink

The nourishment from company

And if it’s too much, well, it’s always over

 

More things will happen later on

Jesus will be arrested,

Sent to trial and to torture

Those who ate with him will scatter

Except the women and two men,

One of them who’s steadfast,

The other man who at the fire says

He never knew the one

Taken away

 

So the greater hope is in the women

Watch what follows in the next few days

 

Let’s have this meal

Because and regardless of tradition

It’s important

That we dine together

 

C L Couch

 

 

Photo by Sandro Gonzalez on Unsplash

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Holy Communion

 

Holey Week 5

 

Keeping Faith in Time

Keeping Faith in Time

 

Big days are coming

Liturgically speaking

For practitioners of child and

Parent faiths

Maybe today should have gone quietly

There’s daily service

To attend to

I don’t know how to make

Every day spiritually special

As one of those practitioners, I should

But weak flesh and sometimes

Unwilling spirit,

Which is to say I’m human

So are you

Not as an excuse for anything

While there are certain things, at large and internal,

To give in to

There are things we must keep trying for

Let this day found goodness

In the next one

And if we miss a step

Let’s remember certain rhythms

And their seasons

Allow for discord

(against the chord)

Without ruining the music

Might make it better

 

C L Couch

 

 

Photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash

Bethel College, Mishawaka, United States

 

Holey Week 4

 

A Now That Must Also Look Ahead

A Now That Must Also Look Ahead

 

It’s Tuesday

It’s a nuthin’ day

A sick day

Among sick days

The novelty’s worn off

Some learning’s needed

With the cooking

And the cleaning

The boxing

(of both kinds)

All the games that

Walls and cyber-walls allow

Thank goodness, we can

Look outside and go there

 

There’s real talking, too

In many ways

A face to face

That’s a comfort

And we learn from this

A different kind

Of schooling, maybe

There are books

Paper and pencil, too

Or let them be totems for

Pens or the electron kind,

What it all might represent

The faces

All the forms

 

We can through this, now

Until the angel passes

Our own kind of rite

The Jewish own so well

 

Singing for pass-over

Blood upon the lintel

Chair for the prophet, should

The prophet come to call

Food, some of it with bitter herbs

But everything we need

For the journey

Into such desert and

At last

A homeland

 

The Passover is family

Each tradition has its form

And if we have none,

What better time than pandemic’s

For making something new?

For the world needs cleaning

Not a purging

But a dusting off

Soap and water

Disinfectant for the worst

While we wait

Research

And wait

With everything that passes over

 

Having something of the new

Inside,

Maybe inexorably, ineffably

Once shared,

New ritual

Based on care for what we’ve learned

Of who we’ve been

And who we are

Again and for the first time

 

As for death and mourning,

Each tradition knows that well

And those without

However we might feel

I don’t know how to count

While others do

Remember, in the future,

It was this kind of plague

I might not be here

Or another witness

Closer and more qualified

You’ll have to have a story

Back to learning, again

Sad lessons

And tragic

And a void

We learn this other kind of life

Lived through emptiness

It is time for a wake, the Irish say

(who also know bread

and bitter herbs for sin and hope,

Irish Jews more so)

Though this party if too big

Too many coffins to line up

Along the bar

What the dead drink

Will do nothing for a tab

Only take coins in readiness for

Ferry pilots

Announced by banshees

 

These groups I know a little of

You have your own

And stories

Set them down and tell them

Try not to worry about variants

They happen

There is a narrative here

Part of the story of the Earth

If we tell it well,

The Earth might weep

For us

 

C L Couch

 

 

Photo by David T on Unsplash

Serifos, Greece

 

Holey Week 3

 

One More

One More

 

Some might say

Since we are ash

At the end, then

Let us burn now

 

They are wrong

Enough goes up

In flame, not the

Good kind, either

Not the sun

That through the

Ozone give us

Life, that lights up

The moon for our

Remembrance

 

The flame that

Takes, we understand

As Pogo says, this

Enemy is us

 

And yet the comic

Character is funny;

My dad read him

Later quoted him

Year in, year out

 

And he is right:

We know the enemy,

And it is funny

Laughter, sardonic,

Otherwise, does

Drive the devil

Mad, so much so

There’s a rule,

No jokes in hell

 

So breathe and

Do not breathe for

Burning—there

Is more water,

Sometimes with a

Kick, always more

Until the barkeep

Calls last call,

 

There having been

Enough, even if

We are left, human

Will in strange

Partnership with

Eternity, wanting

While we’re here

One more

 

C L Couch

 

 

Photo by Chronis Yan on Unsplash

 

“We have met the enemy and he is us” is a parody of a message sent in 1813 from U.S. Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry to Army General William Henry Harrison after his victory in the Battle of Lake Erie, stating, “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogo_(comic_strip)#%22We_have_met_the_enemy_and_he_is_us.%22

 

Holey Week 2

 

We’ll Burn the Palms for Next Year’s Ash

We’ll Burn the Palms for Next Year’s Ash

 

Today is Palm Sunday.  I recall this because I saw,

just now, an image with two pieces of wood, tied and

at an angle.  I suppose many are celebrating—feasting,

in fact, since it is the end of Lent—the way I am but

with honest hearts.

 

Lent is done, although the days of ash continue.  Nothing

new for planet Earth and the people of it.  What do we

know of ash but that it’s final in remembrance?

We might take the stuff and try to rework it, but what it means

remains the same.  We are of ash.  We’ve tasted it.

 

We try to contain it, though it’s mischievous in

blowing around.  Where does that wind come from?

“Dust in the wind.” “Turn, turn, turn.”  Every generation asks

the question, needs an answer, doesn’t get one.

There is ash.  It’s everywhere.  We think it’s dust, though we’ll never

clear it out.  We can’t.  As I say with all the singers,

 

it is us.  We are ash.

 

C L Couch

 

 

Photo by Niklas Tidbury on Unsplash

This was a picture I took just for fun. One of those “that would look cool”-moments. I only realised the contrast between the new, fresh, ready-to-burn wood and the spent ashes of a campfire, like the wood was ready to meet its maker. Kinda sad actually.

 

This begins a week-long devotional, “Holey Week.”  The title is intentionally spelled.

 

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