Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Day Not Mentioned

Today is Holy Saturday. The day not mentioned in any of the Gospels. There are the moving and distressing events of Friday. They get recorded. And there is the glorious event of Sunday. It gets recorded. But there is no mention of Saturday. Strange. What were the disciples doing on Saturday? We’re not told. I suspect that they were wandering around in shock, as if in a fog. Dreams crushed. Hopes dashed. A world ended. I imagine them enveloped in fear, sadness and sorrow. I suspect them confused, accused, feeling misused. The cacophonous noises of Friday now gone. The joyous shouts of Sunday not yet audible. It’s Saturday. A soundless, noiseless silent space. Such spaces are spaces of opportunity. Opportunities for encounter with God. A God who more often works in the hidden places than in the glare of spotlight. A God who more often whispers in the still silences than shouts in the clamor of bluster.

Saturday. Holy Saturday. A day whose emptiness stands in stark contrast to Friday, with its ample furnishings of pain and terror, and to Sunday, with its abundant overflow of joy and gladness.

Here is a poem befitting this day, this season; befitting disciples, past and present—mixed-up, perplexed, strung out, confused.

Far between sundown's finish an' midnight's broken toll
We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing

As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds

Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing

Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight

Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight

An' for each an' ev'ry underdog soldier in the night

An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.


In the city's melted furnace, unexpectedly we watched
With faces hidden while the walls were tightening

As the echo of the wedding bells before the blowin' rain

Dissolved into the bells of the lightning

Tolling for the rebel, tolling for the rake
Tolling for the luckless, the abandoned an' forsaked

Tolling for the outcast, burnin' constantly at stake

An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.


Through the mad mystic hammering of the wild ripping hail

The sky cracked its poems in naked wonder

That the clinging of the church bells blew far into the breeze

Leaving only bells of lightning and its thunder

Striking for the gentle, striking for the kind

Striking for the guardians and protectors of the mind

An' the unpawned painter behind beyond his rightful time

An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.


Through the wild cathedral evening the rain unraveled tales

For the disrobed faceless forms of no position

Tolling for the tongues with no place to bring their thoughts

All down in taken-for-granted situations

Tolling for the deaf an' blind, tolling for the mute

Tolling for the mistreated, mateless mother, the mistitled prostitute

For the misdemeanor outlaw, chased an' cheated by pursuit
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.


Even though a cloud's white curtain in a far-off corner flashed

An' the hypnotic splattered mist was slowly lifting

Electric light still struck like arrows, fired but for the ones

Condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting

Tolling for the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail

For the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale

An' for each unharmful, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail

An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.


Starry-eyed an' laughing as I recall when we were caught
Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended

As we listened one last time an' we watched with one last look
Spellbound an' swallowed 'til the tolling ended

Tolling for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed

For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones an' worse

An' for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe

An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.


That’s Bob Dylan’s Chimes of Freedom, sent to me by Keith DeRose. Unlike Keith, who wisely makes the listening of that song part of his Good Friday, Lenten practice, I hadn’t read those words in a long time. I am so glad he reminded me of them today.

There's another poem I'd love to share with you, too. A stark, forbidding, spartan poem sent to me yesterday by Lori Wilson. It was written by Kester Brewin. Sadly, Kester removed that poem from his website before I could copy it. I've asked him to send it to me. If and when he does, I will post it immediately.

It's Saturday. But Sunday's comin'!!!

[The following Good Friday poem by Kester Brewin; Added Easter afternoon.]

Modern/postmodern, epistemology
and philosophy,
arguments about text,
all distant hazes in the cortex
as this one true sensation
becomes all reality:

the pain of metal against bone
and blood and bitter wine;
hung in agonizing mezzanine:
Father above, who sent
and created earth below who received,
both now turning in rejection,
aiming their crude technologies.
Pig iron and sacrifice.

There is blood.
I am finished.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Was not the Sabbath originally on Saturday? Saturday was the 7th day of creation. If what I have heard is correct Sunday was not an official day of worship until after the crucifixion. The transition to Sunday, I have been told, is related to a celebration of Christs resurrection. For a time services were held on both Saturday and Sunday yet as more Gentiles (whom did not hold Sabbath day traditions) joined Sunday became the dominant day.

Giovanni said...

Here is a poem feel free to ad to your site if you find it fitting to do so.

My Royal Family

With your word you have set me free,
Ignited my spirit, like you, I strive to be.
Free! no ties , no lies, binding me.
By your mercy, your grace, at last I can see.

Your yoke hangs gently around my neck,
easy and light, just like you had said.
If not by you, then who? This I can not fathom,
I belong to you, this is not random.

By choice?... My choice?... How can this be?
Wasn't it He, who chose to save me.

Mercy and grace, given abundantly.
Eternally grateful for adopting me.

From that day forward, I awake Free.
No longer enslaved by powers other than thee.

Royal garments, I now own.
By my Father Given , who covers skin and bone.

I Pick up My Scepter! On goes my Royal Robe!
My Fathers the king, I now sit by His throne.

First born yes! That is me,
First born of His Royal family.

By: Giovanni