A funny thing happened on my way to Easter Sunday this year. I wrote about my less-than-stellar Palm Sunday experience here, and the week wound downhill from there (albeit with a few nice moments along the way).
DAVID GILMOUR LITURGY
As with so many things, I had good intentions for this Holy Week being different. I was ready to "get back into it." Prior to Palm Sunday I even prepared this little piece to share regarding my annual 'David Gilmour Holy Week Liturgy.'
Here it is, almost Easter again. I'm not big on bonnets or bunnies or being in my Sunday best, but those who know me know the entire Holy Week drama is quite possibly the pinnacle of practicality in my mind when it comes to melding creation to Creator, meaning to Mystery, and the very essence of life everlasting to the Everything. It is quite possibly my favorite week of the year (though not in a happy-clappy sorta way).Well, if we are FB friends, you know it didn't happen (I didn't share the above piece or any DG music). Even after I decided against it on Palm Sunday, I still intended to do the Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday version. I did not, and maybe it's time to put it to rest.
Anyway, something I started doing a number of years ago is this Holy Week David Gilmour Liturgy. I choose a DG song and pair it with a Scripture verse to go along with each of the days of Holy week. It's something I am quite proud of, actually. I've even contemplated writing an ebook or devotional. Every year I post it in some form or other between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. And... every year I hear comments (or at least imagine them) wondering what in the world I mean by it. Am I being sarcastic, sacrilegious, or serious?
Well, I thought I would try to offer an explanation this year. Though it will be difficult because I'm not sure I understand it myself. What I do know, though, is I am not intending to idolize anyone's music, nor do I mean to slight the Savior. I guess... to me... when I mix the emotion of the moments from history, with the sacred stirrings of Scripture and artistic expression of song 'maybe' intended for something totally other (I don't know)... my personal belief is that the listener/participant is able to create from it their own soul sauna and bathe in it's beauty however they like. I mean, how bad can it be for God and Gilmour to mix it up for the Good of us all??
Anyway, you can think of Holy Week however you want, but for me, there is nothing that better represents every day, every year, every life that has ever existed... than what this week represents. And I'm looking for all the help I can get to transport me from birth to death and back again! I guess that's what I intend for the Holy Week David Gilmour Liturgy. It's a way to help me embrace the season with as much depth and intensity as I can. Which I feel it merits.
So... if anyone is still reading this redundant ramble... I hope that sheds a little light on what my posts will be about this coming week. You are free to read and listen if you like with each day's posting. Or... not. Whatever you choose, happy Holy Week, my friends... And a boat-load of peace to ya!
WORK AND THE PARKING LOT
It was as I stood in the parking lot in a downpour Thursday evening that I decided to nix the whole Easter week liturgy altogether. Actually, maybe even before that.
I found out mid-week that two of my co-workers are leaving. While I don't blame either one of them, I was bummed about it. Then late Wednesday night my boss sent me a message wondering if I could cover part of his shift at the desk so he could attend his church's Good Friday service. That in and of itself wasn't so bad, but the fact that I was spending Maundy Thursday working from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then working the parking lot at church from ~ 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. - with no chance for a run in between - and then I wasn't going to be able to attend the Good Friday breakfast put on by the Y (that he was going to attend); plus I wasn't going to be able to attend either of my church's Good Friday services because of work and the parking lot.... Well, you know me, I handled it in my typical selfishly juvenile way: I got mad.
I didn't respond to the boss until Thursday (hoping I would cool off a little). I simply told him I could stay late, but asked if I could get off at 1 p.m. on Thursday. Well, I wasn't able to leave early Thursday, and to top it off, Thursday was our "Member Appreciation Day" at work, and I was going to be there by myself to get everything ready and deal with the whole thing (until 2 pm). So when he asked if I was still going to be able to work late Friday, naturally I said, "I guess. I suppose one of us should get to attend a Good Friday service."
Yes, I know it was a passive aggressive response. And he did eventually realize that since he had attended his church's Maundy Thursday service, the Good Friday breakfast, and he was able to attend the evening Good Friday service at his church... he actually let me off at noon Friday so I could attend our service. He's not a bad person, just doesn't think things through very often.
MAUNDY THURSDAY IN THE RAIN
So....... that's a long curve back to Thursday evening. Someone had actually signed up to help with the parking lot, and, fortunately, they did not show up. I'm sure the fact that it rained all afternoon/evening Thursday was part of the reason. I also think they weren't mentally or physically capable of doing it anyway (so why would they sign up???). So, I spent the evening standing in the rain in the parking lot -- and only had FOUR CARS the entire night! They eventually cancelled the game anyway, but this experience was not worth the stinking $20 it raised for the church youth group (which is another thing because I'm not entirely sure who the youth group is, where the money goes, who decides how it's used, how it gets there, etc., etc., etc.). I ended up going home a little after 7, eating supper, having a glass of wine, and crawling into bed.
Aaaaaaaanyway... Friday came at the usual 3:50 a.m. and I went to work and did my thing. I actually had a great time of reading/journaling my Lenten devotions. The entire journey this season with Scott Cairnes' little book 'Love's Immensity: Mystics on the Endless Life' has been overwhelmingly good. It's amazing the places it can take me each morning. I've been tempted to share some of my journal entries here but feel it important they be kept between me and Thee.
At some point Friday morning I did finally burp this out onto Facebook, accompanied by Jakob Dylan's video of "Nothing But The Whole Wide World." (video link)
I've always had this thing for Holy Week (well, always for awhile anyway). Especially Thursday/Friday/Saturday... much moreso than the big and bright Easter Sunday extravaganzas. I'm sure part of the draw for a sadly shy introvert like myself is that it's one of the few times people are actually ENCOURAGED toward silent meditation and a somewhat subversive wrestling with mysteries below the surface of everyday television tripe. We have to slow down, think about feet, and drag a tree up a hill in our underwear (mentally... only mentally)... Anyway, the last 5-10 years I've been doing this 'David Gilmour Holy Week Liturgy' each year - which I'm sure ya'all have missed this year (another story). This year though... or this week... my attention has been caught up in a line from this Jakob Dylan song. I was actually reminded of it by a guy who's been dead nearly 700 years, but I've always loved this song (at least since 2010), and how the son of the legend himself (Bob) originally wrote it for Glen Campbell to record. There are lots of parallel lines, but this one - "Got nothing to lose but rivets and chains/Got nothing but the whole wide world to gain" - that's my Holy Week mantra this year right there! It's like a sum-up of the whole dang shebang! I'm sure I hear it in a way Jakob wasn't intending (maybe), and isn't that perfectly fitting on something called "Good Friday" when we celebrate a guy dying (and... drink his blood?). So, yeah.... well... before darkness appears to consume us... and his body transfigures to a peep... if your hope is being hammered and you're hangin' by a thread... Remember... It's Friday. And we've got nothing but the whole wide world to gain. Peace out; and in.I did get off work at noon, and I accompanied Lady Jane to the 12:30 p.m. Good Friday service at our church. It was nothing but music (recorded), responsive prayer readings, the Scripture reading, and communion. I don't know why, but I had tears streaming and was on the verge of outright bawling almost the entire service. It was that good - in a moving sort of way. Here is a link to the playlist used from Spotify. The music itself was intense, but with the readings and Scripture... it was amazing.
THE JEHOVAH WITNESS INVITE
Perhaps one of the best things to happen to me this entire Lenten season also happened Friday. I was invited to the Jehovah Witness Commemoration Service honoring Jesus' death! One of the bike mechanics that works in my building is a 20-something Jehovah Witness. We are cordial with one another and I like her. Yet it was so completely sweet, and I could tell took a lot of nerve, when she finally came over to my desk and invited me to this service. Her face was blanched red and she was shaking... She knows I used to be a pastor - and I don't know if that maybe would have earned her more points or something (I don't think so), or if she thought this might make a difference, or what - but I could tell it was a big deal, and it actually was a big deal to me. I have no interest in joining their group, but felt quite honored that she would invite me - just like I feel honored when atheists and agnostics interact and engage me in religious discussions.
Of course, naturally, my boss walked in - after just getting back from the Y Good Friday breakfast - and totally missed the importance of an evangelical Christian interacting positively with a Jehovah Witness. He started going on and on about Easter, and the Christian speaker at the breakfast and whatnot. Again, he's not a bad guy, just not so very aware most of the time.
Friday ended up being a double-header baseball game, so I was back at the parking lot not too long after leaving church. It was another slow night. Jane eventually joined me, and after we'd parked only about 20 cars, we left around 7:30 p.m. and went to our usual Friday night spot. We had supper and drinks and fell asleep in the basement.
Today - oh yeah... it's supposed to be "Silent Saturday." Normally I wouldn't share anything on this day when 'Christ is in the grave.' Yet, this year.... meh.
We went to the Y and did our weekly long run (9 miles) because it's raining and I'm not up to running in the rain just yet. There's supposed to be a 1:05 baseball game today, and someone volunteered last-minute to work the lot. I told her to just block it off and don't worry about taking any money, but left the money bag with her just in case. I'm not sure what she'll do. And, honestly, I really don't care.
I need to take a shower now because I'm a sweaty mess. After that I'm thinking a nap may be in order.
Tomorrow involves the Easter breakfast at church at 9:30 a.m., the Easter Egg Hunt at 10, and the worship service at 10:30. I believe the Feipel's are coming over afterward for lunch, and.... that's about that.
So... that's the long story of this short week so far. Harumpf.