Season after Pentecost, 2023
He is the Way. Follow Him through the Land of Unlikeness; You will see rare beasts, and have unique adventures.
Holy Saturday. It would be nice to know what that is, but I can't slow down enough to figure it out this year.
So, on to the Great Vigil. There are Great Preparations for this service, and it is always very beautiful, even when it's not perfect. And how can it be? It's huge.
In the first reading we were brought back to the very beginning -- the very beginning of the week, actually. In the beginning was the Word (remember Monday?). The whole story begins with words. With the meaning that comes from them. And more than meaning, Bishop Ted Gulick told us, desire.
We desire God; God desires us.
Nowhere was this more evident than in the intentional, gracious, and profound way that Bishop Gulick anointed the baptismal candidates with oil, and confirmed, received, and reaffirmed others. There was an acknowledgement of their coming home.
Bishop Shannon Johnston, who officiated at yesterday's three hour service, chose a poem of W. H. Auden as the last words of the service.
He is the Truth. Seek Him in the Kingdom of Anxiety; You will come to a great city that has expected your return for years.
The Baptisms and Confirmations we celebrated in this Mass were a homecoming of sorts. ". . . marked as Christ's own forever." We're not going anywhere, and the desire God has for us is profound.
And we too desire God. "Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes . . .", "Like as the hart desireth the water brooks . . .", "As the deer longs for the water-brooks, * so longs my soul for you, O God."
And, for me, the music of Palestrina's motet gives this real meaning. There's one moment especially with that delicious convergence that results in a double third, but it sounds just perfect. There I think we encounter both desires. Ours and Gods. Just like Mahler Symphony No. 5, the slow movement, except that it's not romantic love, it's divine love, and desire for the divine.
He is the Life. Love Him in the World of the Flesh; And at your marriage all its occasions shall dance for joy.
And so through our desire, we encounter God.
Bishop Gulick said that we even taste his desire in our mouths through the bread of the Eucharist.
At the Lamb's high feast we sing: Alleluia.
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