Saturday, March 30, 2013

After the Tenebrae: a song of the Passion

     Friday is the day that ends in silence. It is the day of darkness, of chaos and murder, of mobs and blood.  It is the day when we follow Christ through the long night to the trial of day, into the light.
Bring his deeds before the light of day, search them out, sift him like wheat, test him like the lamb-which-shall-be-slain. Hand him over to the Romans, to Pilate, to the crowds and their angry cries, their muttering rising in tide until it is a black wave, a tsunami rising that will have its way, it will overcome order and grace and mercy. It shall roar over the voice of reason and justice and it shall sweep you down that road to death. To shame and wrath and heart-tearing grief, the mourning of the sky, "great darkness at broad noon."
     We hear the cruel lash of the whip, its near-murderous bite of flesh, see the skin torn away from shoulders and back, and blood everywhere, on the torturous long thorns, pooling above the eybreows, drippingpouring down the face, into the anguished brown eyes. Blood in his back, nothing but blood and the gleam of the caught vertebrae, and the sting of sweat and dirt, and Roman saliva, human mocker amidst its methods of justice. This god seems to die without a fight, he goes only in great pain, great sorrow, aching loneliness, and unseen, secret love.

Holy Week: Saturday

Death my shepherd
my loneliness
leading me through dark pastures
into unknown, unknowable emptiness
the other side of light
the no of God
death the Son
thy sun
beyond all consolation
past human touch
death my loneliness
teach me this dark lyric for my harp
that I may sing.

~( David: After Psalm 19, Madeleine L'Engle )~

Friday, March 29, 2013

What I'm Into (March 2013)

     It's the end of March. Seriously. March is over in three days. This is shocking. It still feels like February outside (although it's maybe supposed to be over fifty degrees today!)
My month in review:


This month I didn't have as much time to read, due to not spending so many hours in airports and on airplanes (thank goodness), but I did manage to finish a few books.

  • Out of the Saltshaker and Into the World by Rebecca Manley Pippert was my first finished book of the month (I actually finished in on March 1st, ironically.) I'm not one to read books about evangelism, but I would highly recommend this book! It has come up in many conversations over the past months.
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson was by far my favorite book of the month. It is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. This book is written as letters from an aging father (who is also a pastor) to his young son, and definitely worth the time to read. I finished this book and promptly went to look for it at Half Price Books so that I could own it. I'm buying this one!
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a young-adult cancer book, so I was a bit wary, but, like many of my recent reads, I found a recommendation via Modern Mrs. Darcy, and decided to read. Warning: this book will make you cry. (I have to include that. One time I gave my sister a book that made me sob, and didn't warn her. She was in the backseat of the car on the way to my grandma's house with my whole family when she finished it. And she definitely cried. So now I include a warning. "This book will make you cry. Don't finish it in public!") But it was an honest and beautiful look at the toll of cancer in a young girl's life, and not in a sappy way.
  • The Kodály Context by Louis Choksy

I'm currently in the middle of The Suburban Christian, East of Eden, and Uncommon Decency. My goal is to finish at least two of those, and read a few more this month. I've also been reading Christina Rossetti sonnets, and let's just say that my Rossetti poetry book is never leaving my possession. Ever. It's just too good.


Holy Week: Good Friday

"Crucify him!" they shouted.
"Why? What crime has he comitted?" asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder,
"Crucify him!"
Mary Speaks:

O you who bear the pain of the whole earth,
I bore you.
O you whose tears give human tears their worth,
            I laughed with you.
You, who, when your hem is touched, give power,
            I nourished you.
Who turn the day to night in this dark hour,
            light comes from you.
O you who hold the world in your embrace,
            I carried you.
Whose arms encircled the world with your grace,
            I once held you.
O you who laughed and ate and walked the shore,
            I played with you.
And I, who with all the others, you died for,
            now I hold you.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy Week: Maundy Thursday

Yes, Mark was posted to the Tenth that year.
The day we got there priests contrived to bring
This 'god' to death, and mobs that made me cling
To Mark surged round us, all one mocking jeer.

No omen warned me when Mark led me near
The yelling street that I should be implored
By God to wear my girlhood like a sword
So edged with mercy men would freeze in fear.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Holy Week: Wednesday

O God, we have heard with our ears,
our fathers have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
in the days of old:
you with your own hand drove out the nations,
but them you planted;
you afflicted the peoples,
but them you set free;
for not by their own sword did they win the land,
nor did their own arm save them,
but your right hand and your arm,
and the light of your face,
for you delighted in them.

You are my King, O God;
ordain salvation for Jacob!
Through you we push down our foes;
through your name we tread down
those who rise up against us.
For not in my bow do I trust,
nor can my sword save me.
But you have saved us from our foes
and have put to shame those who hate us.
In God we have boasted continually,
and we will give thanks to your
name forever.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Holy Week: Tuesday

from The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

‘“Call it what you like," Daniel said impatiently. “All I know is I hate the Romans. I want their blood. That is what I live for. It's all I’ve lived for since—“   
“Since what, Daniel?” Joel urged.
“Since they killed my father and mother.”
There was a silence, and then Malthace said, very gently, “Tell us, Daniel.”
Daniel wavered. He was torn, as he had been torn that first day on the mountain, between the desire to stay in hiding and the need to speak to them. No one in the cave knew all of his story. He never spoke of it. He dreaded to bring it up out of the secret places of his memory, but even more he longed to share the burden that he had carried alone for so many years.
"It's not a good story for a girl to hear," he said.
"Is it about your mother?" asked Malthace.
"About them both."
"If it's about my own people, about another woman like myself, then I can hear it."
Daniel stared at the blur of her face against the wall. Her eyes shone deep and steady. Was she for him or against him?
He began to grope his way back, far back to the beginning. "It was when I was eight years old," he told them. "I was in the synagogue school then. My father was the overseer of the vineyards. It was a good job. I don't remember ever being hungry or afraid. He used to tell us stories after the evening meal. He knew them all by heart. My sister was only five. She had yellow hair and blue eyes like our mother. That's because my mother's mother was a Greek slave who married her Jewish master. But my mother never knew any foreign ways. She believed in the God of the Jews. She taught us verses from the scripture, and made us say them after her. I think we were like all the other families. Perhaps it is still like that, in the houses in the village."
     Joel nodded. “It was so in our house,” he said.
“My father had a brother, younger than he was, and they were very close. When I was very young my uncle lived in our house with us, but then he married and went to live in a house of his own not far away. I can remember the wedding. They let me walk in the procession, and I was so excited that I dropped my torch and burned a hole in my new coat.”

Monday, March 25, 2013

Holy Week: Monday

"There is not much talking now. A silence falls upon them all. This is no time to talk of hedges and fields, or the beauties of any country. Sadness and fear and hate, how they well up in the heart and mind, whenever one opens the pages of these messengers of doom. Cry for the broken tribe, for the law and the custom that is gone. Aye, and cry aloud for the man who is dead, for the woman and children bereaved. Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end. The sun pours down on the earth, on the lovely land that man cannot enjoy. He knows only the fear of his heart."
(Cry, The Beloved Country, Alan Paton, 104-105)

     I wonder sometimes if that is how the Jews felt under the rule of the Romans, if they lived in fear of uprisings that would take their sons to crosses, of taxes that would take food from their childrens' mouths, of soldiers that would take their daughters' purity and honour. They were waiting, waiting for deliverance.
      And yet Jesus did not see the Romans simply as oppressors. He saw their hearts as well. He knew that the real enemies were sin, pride, self, anger, lust, murder.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Holy Week: Palm Sunday

God's Grandeur

~( Gerard Manley Hopkins)~

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
   It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
   It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
   And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
   And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

[Not Yet] Spring

     I don't know about you, but I'm about ready for some warm weather and sunshine. Despite the cold temperatures, the birds have been singing and the sun has been shining (for the most part), but March came in like a lion and is stubbornly refusing to go out like a lamb. We've had our fill of below-freezing days in March. Personally, I'm still praying for the lamb part sometime soon.
     Next week is spring break for me (yay!) and a long-awaited time of rest after a crazy last few months. I've already scheduled some Holy Week posts for each day so that I'm actually using my week to rest and not worrying about blogging. And after that, it's national poetry month again (cue cheers of joy) and I'll be posting dozens of my favorites. :) But in the meantime, a little spring poem for you.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What Mumford & Sons and Jane Eyre Have in Common

     As I mentioned in the February What I'm Into post, I recently read Rosalie de Rosset's Unseduced and Unshaken. The premise of the book is based upon dignity in a young woman's choices, but about half-way through the book, I found a chart that I loved. It made so much sense that I just had to share.

Popular Culture
Traditional / Folk Culture
1. Focuses on the new/recent.
1. Focuses on the timeless.
2. Discourages reflection.
2. Encourages reflection.
3. Pursued to kill time aimlessly.
3. Pursued thoughtfully.
4. Gives us what we want/tells us what we know.
4. Offers us what we could not have imagined.
5. Relies on instant comprehension.
5. Requires training; encourages patience.
6. Celebrates fame.
6. Celebrates giftedness.
7. Appeals to sentimentality.
7. Appeals to deeper, mature emotions.
8. Market driven.
8. Content and form governed by the timeless.
9. Leaves us where it found us.
9. Transforms our sensibilities.
10. Incapable of deep, sustained attention.
10. Capable of repeated, sustained attention.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What I'm learning about the Kodaly method and why you should care

 (I apologize for the lack of accent mark in the title. Every time I add it, the letter or the whole line disappear, and my lack of blogger savy-ness isn't helping me out here. )   

     A month or so ago I was browsing the music section of the library (a dangerous place for me, I know). Every time I browse that aisle I come out with an armful of books. One of the books I picked up this past time was titled Music Lessons: Guide your Child to Play a Musical Instrument (And Enjoy It!), by Stephanie Stein Crease. Though the book is written for parents,  I thought it would be a helpful read, so I checked it out and ended up reading the first few chapters. When I got to chapter 2, she had a brief overview of several methods. The Kodály method, which I had never heard of, was included and sounded intruiging, so I wrote down the name with the intention of looking it up and learning more.
     After I did some brief online reading,  I decided that the Internet resources on the method were far too vague, and inter-library loaned The Kodály Context and The Kodály Method I (both by Lois Choksy). The more I learn about the Kodály method, the more I like it, and I can't believe I'd never heard of it before!

    Seeing as how I had never heard of the Kodály (pronounced koh-die) method before this year, chances are that you haven't either. So I'll give you a brief overview of what I've learned through my reading.

     Zoltán Kodály, the author of the method, was a Hungarian musician who spent his childhood in the small villages of Hungary. He studied at the Franz Liszt Academy of Hungary, and was passionate about discovering and restoring the rich folk culture of Hungarythe folk songs, dances, and children's songs. His educational philosophy can be combined into four major points:
  1.  That true musical literacythe ability to read, write and think musicis the right of ever human being.
  2. That, to be internalized, musical learning must begin with the child's own natural instrumentthe voice.
  3. That the education of the musical ear can be completely successful only if it is begun earlyin kindergarten and the primary gradeseven earlier, if possible.
  4. That, as a child possesses a mother tonguethe language spoken in his homehe also possesses a musical mother-tongue in the folk music of that language. It is through this musical mother tongue that the skills and concepts necessary to musical literacy should be taught.
(from The Kodály Context, pages 6-7)

Friday, March 1, 2013


She breathes in thick city air.
It fogs her mind and breeds
Each week a replay, repeat
of the last, nothing to tear
gray ruitine and plant seeds
of light or hope or
Something that is else.
No one to call and say
Come Away,
Breathe the Light.
See the the yellow flowers and
the green grass and know about

And so the busy-ness of her motion
stills the pool of her heart,
her mind.


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