Thoughts of An Easter’s Day

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Redemption–salvation–is a pretty big idea.

I mean, it’s God putting aside His throne in heaven and taking on a human nature, then dying on a cross (so not romantic!) to atone for the sins of other men, while He Himself remained blameless. If it was one of us, we’d be terrified to death–or worse, complaining like no one’s business. After all, we grumble quite a bit when someone just accuses us of not taking the trash out when we just did. (And don’t pull the ‘that’s just a little thing, I’d be much more holy when I was doing the real thing!’ with God. “He who is faithful in small things is faithful in much, and he who is unfaithful in small things is unfaithful in much.” Hate to break it to you, but that’s a double standard, which really does not work. Besides, the way we act in minor things is the same way we’ll act in the big ones. Don’t worry, though–your humble blogger is the same way, and she knows it too.)

Sometimes, the course of history changes when a small event happens to shift it slightly, into a new course, and as often as not then begins to repeat itself again. There is a tiny jar, a hiccup–the galaxy hiccups!–and then things rolls slowly on once more, as if they had never changed, though the path itself is not quite the same.

And sometimes, something earth-shattering, something tectonic dances when there is a crash and a roar, and suddenly everything is right again and everyone stares bewildered at each other, wondering what in Heaven’s name just happened, anyway!?

And what did just happen?

A truly unprecedented event.

An act of true love.

An act of selfless sacrifice.

An act that seems simple, even meaninglessness, at the time, but it shakes the foundations of the universe.

It is so simple, yet so perfect, it is the ultimate poem–without needing words.

That is what the Crucifixion was. It was the event that permanently changed history.

And in the same vein, every act that is completely selfless is also a novel happening, unprecedented, shocking. Worthwhile for its own sake.

Shock the world, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised yourself.

Thanks for reading, and God Bless!

Poetry for Holy Week #6: Joseph of Arimathea

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Well, here it is, the last poem of the “Poetry for Holy Week” series.

Enjoy!

Joseph of Arimathea
Holy Saturday
They gave Thee to Thy Mother’s arms
And then they laid Thee in a tomb;
Still in Thy face was beauty,
To be sealed away in that deathly room.
Huddled in a locked, closed room,
The Saturday vigil long to keep
Not for sorrow, but for fear
With Thy friends I wee;

Yet at the third day’s dawning,
Thou would arise again,
To go before to Galilee
And meet with human kin!
No message of sorrow there will be
Without the light of joy
Now Death itself lies dying,
And Fear is but a ploy;

Not face to Face, yet heart to Heart,
My heart will rest with Thee,
And when my words all are useless,
Then come, humility.
Not to death will my path lead,
But through it, and then on;
Ever since You opened the gates
I will trust Thee till all is over and done!

And let me keep before me
Thy Passion’s bitter pain
All my life send on me
Thy lifeblood’s healing rain!
Let me bear my little cross
In unison with Thine,
And let me live with Thee forever,
As a saintly sign.
Amen.

Poetry for Holy Week #5: Veronica

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My personal favorite of all my Holy Week/Passion poems. Enjoy!

Veronica
Good Friday
I was walking down a road one day
Chatting, laughing with my friends
Then I saw a Stranger standing there
And I knew His story was about to end
No one else even seemed to see
And I still looked, and suddenly
I was ashamed of being me

He stood there with a heavy cross
Upon His shoulder, bloody, bare
Soldiers, mocking, all around
Yet in His face was peace, even there.
And I was ashamed for my naivety,
Ashamed, for never knowing Him
Ashamed; He was dying for my sin

I dropped my head and took my veil
I couldn’t even meet His eyes
Hastily, I wiped his bruised face.
I turned away; I was going to cry.
And I was tired of all the lies.
It was pity, and apology,
And I was weak and cowardly,
Yet there in the road, He forgave—and blessed me.

There are many roads, they say,
That lead to Calvary.
Only one end there, they say.
Yet what I saw was no ending.
“It is begun, then,” the thought came,
“The great work, the saving, comes in His name.
This is no end, but a beginning to the Day!
For to this Story, there is no end;
Eternity awaits. Amen.”

Poetry for Holy Week #4: The Apostles’ Tale

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This one is multiple points of view… I hope it’s not too confusing to anybody!

Enjoy!

The Apostles’ Tale
Holy Week
Peter:
Quo vadis, Domine?
See, I follow on the way,
This is where the world’s fear comes due:
“See, I am making all things new!”


Mary Magdalene:
Strange words to hear
Condemned lips to my condemned ear
Now, the day grows dark with fear
Small hope breeding still less cheer.


Mary, Mother of Christ:
Does the world not understand
Just Who it was I led by the hand,
The man they put to death today?
Their salvation slain, yet still, He saves.

I always knew it would come to this,
But the burden is no less hard to bear.
I’ll never understand why some men
Judge when they weren’t even there.


John:
Is there no hope for this world now?
The life grows dim upon His brow,
“Son, your mother—woman, your son.”
His work I still don’t understand—yet still it has begun.


Joseph of Arimathea:
The Son of God lies in my tomb,
It is hard to believe,
Never was the world so cold,
And harder still to grieve.


Mary, Mother of Christ:
Yet still my Son is conqueror,
Of men, and death itself lies slain!
Victorious He will rise on the third day,
And then I shall not mind my pain.

Author’s note: Yes, Mary, the mother of Christ got more lines than anyone else. She thinks much, much more than she speaks; these are her thoughts. No, I am not going to change it. This is my way of blowing sexism out of the water. The girls the same number of stanzas as the boys. :-P Whoo!

 

Poetry for Holy Week #3: Mary Magdalene

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One of my favorite characters in the New Testament. She’s sassy and always speaks her mind. Enjoy!

Mary Magdalene
Maundy Thursday-Good Friday-Holy Saturday
When I heard He’d been arrested, I couldn’t believe it.
He healed thousands, healed me; done only good!
How could those bigots simply not see it?
Were their heads made out of hardwood?

They handed Him over to the Romans
Shouting for His death; oh, fickle nation!
Some of those there had themselves been saved,
They were asking for their own desolation.

“His blood be on us, and on our children.”
Dooming words, thank Heaven, not mine!
No wonder He spoke to them in parables;
His goodness was casting pearls before swine.

We followed those soldiers to Calvary,
Mary and John and I, alone;
No one else could find the courage,
Some had left Jerusalem, to roam.

We stood around the foot of that cruel Cross,
I knew then that it would haunt my dreams ever thereafter.
I stood and watched Him hanging there,
Stood there, and heard those devils’ laughter.

They could not even leave Him to die in peace!
But over the mocking laughter, He spoke.
“Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.”
To hear Him forgive them! My heart broke.

Those terrible long hours to hang on a Cross,
I always thought even Romans could not do such a thing.
But then, I had never realized
That even a broken heart can sing.

They took Him down from that terrible Cross,
Laid him in a tomb hard by.
People say that I’m never short of tears,
Yet I had no tears left to cry.

Three days, three long, fearful days,
Then in the garden, I saw Him again;
I had not known Him at first; I thought He was a gardener.
Then, He said my name.

And with that call, precious as the first,
My heart again awoke,
And now my voice once more I’ve set free,
For Him at last I spoke.

And now there shall be no more tears,
And fear no longer has a place in me,
For I’ve given my soul to His glorious cause,
And my reward is eternity.

Poetry for Holy Week #2: Simon The Cyrenean

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Good Friday
There was a crowd in the streets, and a tumult.
Something was happening. I didn’t care.
I was coming home from work on the farm.
I was going to be late; my wife wanted me there.

Soldiers pulled me from the crowd.
For a moment, I wondered what I’d done.
Then I looked into the press, and I saw Him.
And I knew, I wasn’t the one.

They wanted me to help with the cross.
I didn’t want to; I wanted to be off home.
But the Romans had their way; they always do.
I took the cross; He wasn’t alone.

I was reluctant, I was afraid.
And yet there was something about Him that awed me.
When we reached Golgotha, the Romans let me go.
And yet, I couldn’t go—something held me.

They drove the bitter spikes into His hands.
I tried to tell myself that I didn’t care.
Yet I was compelled to Him by something irresistible,
Though I’d rather have been anywhere else but there.

I saw His pain; His blood; His Passion.
And something inside me came to peace.
This was no ending, but our beginning.
For who would have dreamed that by His pain, we’d find release?

Poetry for Holy Week #1: Peter

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A simple poem on the thoughts of Peter throughout the Triduum. Enjoy!

(Oh, and please bear in mind that I am no expert on Bible history, or theology. I will not even claim any inadvertent errors on the grounds of poetic license. I will have to claim them on the grounds of ignorance instead.)

Peter
Maundy Thursday-Good Friday-Holy Saturday-Easter Sunday
I was afraid.
There was nothing on that day but fear.
No hope—all sorrow, except by God’s aid,
And how could God’s aid extend to here?

I was so afraid that I denied Him—
Him, who I said I would never deny.
The cock crowed, and I realized what I was doing.
I was safe; they sent Him to be crucified.

I was not at the Cross’s foot; I was too frightened.
The world for me had fallen apart.
Thunder and earthquakes, the Temple veil torn—
All I could think of was my despairing heart.

For three days we hid, the others and I.
John alone had stayed by His side.
Isn’t that strange, now—John was the youngest,
Yet he stayed in the open, too loving to hide.

Then came the news, the glorious news,
I could have gone out of my mind for joy.
There is a kind of madness that makes one sane,
Mature and yet childlike—a brand new boy.

He rose, and forty days later, He left us,
And yet, at once, He never left.
For though we didn’t have our Master,
We never truly were bereft—

Years have passed, now, since that day.
His care passed to me, I know.
My feet will have to follow,
The way His had to go;

And I always must remember
Though we seem apart,
When those who’ve passed seem far away,
They’re safest, near His heart.

Quote

Thoughts For Lent #4: Palm Sunday

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[Edit: I realized that there's an error in this post. I said St. John's Gospel when the Passion narrative this year was taken from St. Matthew's. Oops. But this post is about St. John's gospel, so I'm not changing it now!]

I recently attended an Introduction to the New Testament class at a local college, and while the instructor there had several valid points to make, I strongly disagree with something they said. They commented on the Gospel of St. John, saying that it was

heavy and rich in symbolism; jeweled and bright, you won’t see the blood, dirt and grime in this gospel.

I strongly disagree with this statement.

Today is Palm Sunday, and for today’s gospel was read the entire Passion narrative from the Gospel of St. John (though, if you go to the Novus Ordo, you’re more likely to have encountered a truncated version. It takes less time to say things in Latin than in English. Nyah! :-P) Re-reading St. John’s gospel, I find it jarringly different from what was described to me by my instructor.

Another of my teachers once said that St. John’s gospel is the crucial gospel. It shows us the greatness of the God-Man by its rich and varied symbolism, which, given enough background material, is no less rich than it was almost two thousand years ago, when it was first written. It is considered the most beautiful of the gospels, and there is the reason why, in my opinion.

In St. John’s Gospel, there is ugliness and dirt, but there is also beauty, which seems the more beautiful for the horror around it. St. John the Evangelist’s style is reminiscent of Tolkien, who drew us lovely pictures with his words: a stone statue of a king, broken, scarred, defaced, masked by an ugly, leering skull, its broken head lying on the ground, but with a crown of yellow stonecrop blossoming in the crevices of its stony hair–a broken sword, nonetheless cutting the Ring from Sauron’s hand. In the Gospel of St. John, too, there is beauty amid the blood and grime; the last words of Jesus, which are sweet and lovely enough to bring tears to the reader’s eyes, and Our Lord dying at the same time as the Paschal lambs were being slaughtered.

Perhaps the teacher of my class merely meant that the blood and grime wasn’t graphic, in an attempt to draw in those of my class who had seen The Passion?

The world may never know.

To do this instructor justice, however, I particularly liked one thing they said:

The Gospels are like separate facets of one gem, each revealing the same truth in a different way, giving us a more complete viewpoint on the life of Christ.

(Okay, they said “Jesus,” but I like saying “Christ,” so there! Hah!)

Check back in tomorrow and the rest of the week for a week of poetry! I may as well just write my disclaimer here:

The author of these posts and poems does not have a PhD in theology or Bible history, and she humbly begs the reader’s pardon for any inadvertent historical and doctrinal errors that may be contained herein. Thank you!

Anyway, thanks for reading, and God Bless!

The Top Ten: Questions Left Unanswered in “The Clone Wars”

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Hello, everyone!

I loved the show Star Wars: The Clone Wars as long as it lasted, but it has left me scarred for life… (Not as badly as Sherlock… though it was close!) Warning: here on out contains spoilers, so be forewarned.

Mainly, I’m scarred and upset because of the final arc of the fifth season, which was the last season to premiere on the air at all. I mean… Ahsoka leaving the Order. Tarkin. Padme’s defense. Obi-Wan’s (inexplicable and in my opinion, painfully out-of-character) silence. Palpatine being voiced by someone other than Ian Abercrombie. (What?!) And last but not least, Barriss Offee’s betrayal.

This is pretty weighty stuff on its own. But taken together with the fact that other than the “bonus arcs” which constitute Season Six (The Lost Missions,) there is no more Clone Wars… It’s crushing.

There is no more Obi-Wan and Anakin bantering every week on Friday nights. No more Ahsoka being her perky, cheeky, lovable self. No more Echo or Fives or Cody or Rex. And last but not least, Barriss is dead. (At least to me.)

Not only is a good thing gone–for good, we understand–but there are numerous questions left unanswered by this show. So, without further ado, I present the Top Ten Incomplete Stories of the Clone Wars!

10. The Zillo Beast. After all, Palpatine ordered it cloned, did he not? How did that go? Did he gain some more scars for his stupidity and just plain evilness? (I seriously hope so.)

9. Cut Lawquayne. What happens to him and his family? Are they ever discovered? I mean, after all, Order 66 would be a pretty rocky time for the Lawquaynes!

8. Lux Bonteri. We left him as the soon-to-be Senator of Onderon as it re-joined the Republic. Where has he gone?

7. The Younglings of the Gathering arc. What became of them? Surely they weren’t all slaughtered in Order 66? But sadly, we will never know.

6. Mandalore, and Bo-Katan Kryze. What happened to them? Was Mandalore reclaimed by the pacifists, or at least by the Death Watch’s more honorable contingent? Will Mandalore burn into a hollow shell and be left as a testament to the evil of the Dark Side and of the Clone Wars, or will it rise once more?

5. Darth Maul. What was his continued purpose in Palpatine’s plan? (And why on earth has he not been completely slaughtered by Obi-Wan yet? Oh wait… that stupid hulk of a half-brother. *snorts*)

4. What about Mortis? I know the arc felt complete, but there are things that still confuse me, things that are left unexplained. (I think that “bringing balance to the Force” must not be what most people think, due to something the Father implied– that the Son was not always evil, and he had some modicum of control. Thus, bringing balance to the Force simply means the eradication of that evil–but apparently not since evil came back. So perhaps rather than restoring balance, Anakin was originally supposed to maintain it, to hold back the Dark Side a little longer? But no! He had to fall to the Dark Side and plunge the whole galaxy over the edge of a precipice for twenty years or so!)

3. Okay, so technically this is not a story that was left hanging, but I want to know more about Bail Organa.

2. What will Ahsoka do now? (If she doesn’t turn up in Rebels, I don’t think it’ll be worth watching at all, unless I need something mindless to do in the evenings!)

1. This is so big it far out-shadows anything else on this list…. get ready…. take a deep breath…

HOW IN THE SCREAMING UNIVERSE DID BARRISS OFFEE (of all people!) TURN TO THE HOWLING, HELL-SPAWNED DARK SIDE!?

I honestly am so mad about this one, I swear it’s like Dave Filoni finally cracked and sacrificed poor Barriss to his Deus Ex Machina. No offense, but it is a freaking Deus Ex Machina. No one foresaw it. Well, some people foresaw it, but they didn’t show us or even hint that something was wrong with Barriss! And it was completely out of character for her! I mean, this is the girl I met in Weapons Factory. The first time, I thought she was a little cold. The second time I watched the episode, I loved her. And then when she was effectively possessed in Brain Invaders, I was so upset! And then, when the episode ended happily, I was so relieved. I never dreamed that maybe that worm might’ve planted something insidious in her head. After all, it was only controlling her. It wasn’t actually a part of her! (Though, that would be an interesting theory, that Barriss thought that some of that evil was still in her and her, effectively, melodrama was what what made her turn. It would also tie in with the line from this episode: “Please, kill me.” But that’s another line of reasoning entirely.) I would like to point out that Barriss was nowhere near dark in these episodes. Yet, when we see her again, she’s a full-on mass murderer!

What in the screaming Wild-blue-Space happened here?!

Does anyone else feel the way I do?

And… that must be the most (near) profanity I’ve used in my life. *is embarrassed* Get the feeling I’m annoyed, much?

(The only time I used more was when my dad had rearranged things in the closet and I opened the door and a heavy box fell out and landed on my foot… I said d**n. *blushes* But I think I might’ve been excused… the thing cut me! And it had BLUNT edges!)

Poor Barriss. She is officially the victim of SECDS. Spontaneous Character Defamation Syndrome.

A special pet peeve of mine is people who start stories like the Clone Wars and then, leave them hanging. It’s so disappointing. And painful. And it’s cruel of the author/director. (Author cruelty to characters is another thing entirely, but trust me, the Clone Wars has that too. Think of poor, innocent Barriss, sacrificed on the altar of expediency, and then also think of how many times Obi-Wan got injured/beaten up/tortured in the Clone Wars. Seriously, next to him, Anakin has it easy. I should think he needs to spend more energy on not getting into those messes in the first place than his wit!)

I’m sorry… it has not been my intent to overly criticize the writers or director of the Clone Wars… or Anakin, either… but I’m pretty annoyed with them all.

Ah well.

At least there’s always the fan community.

So, anyway, please comment, thanks for reading, and God bless…. and please, God, give me the strength to forgive people who leave stories hanging like that.

Come Home

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I wrote this off my cuff one day. It’s a bit AU and I don’t think it’s likely to ever gain a sequel. Still, I thought my readers just might enjoy it… for a brief change of pace. ;-)

Come Home

                There was a little scrap of paper lying on his bed when Vader returned to his quarters, and the Sith Lord almost missed it. He almost laid down in the bed, crushing the scrap and leaving it to be taken out with the sheets. But when he sat down, the sheet of paper fluttered to the floor. How had it gotten on to his bed? Curious, Vader bent down to pick it up. He turned it over. Taped to the back was a short note.

                I miss you, Anakin. I miss your laughter, your smile, your kind voice as you tell me that there’s nothing to be afraid of.

                You should see our children, Anakin. Luke is not much taller than me, and Leia’s petite as well, but Luke has your eyes, your smile… and Leia… Leia has your spunk. I think she frustrates Obi-Wan almost as much as you do did. How much it hurts to write everything in the past tense.

                Blast, you’ll never even read this. Why am I writing, then?

                Obi-Wan says that it’s to let the pain out. His eyes are so empty, so lonely. They’re gray now, like they were the night we buried Qui-Gon. He’s wise, your older brother. Wise, but broken. I’m selfish to be only thinking of myself. He needs you just the same as I do.

                Sometimes I dream that you’re still with us. But then I wake up, alone. One night, I found both the twins in Obi-Wan’s bed. He was lying on the far side, trying to give them more room. I crawled into the bed on the other side, and Obi-Wan fell out. You should have seen his face. All of us moved to the living room floor after that. Obi-Wan has always been there for us, but he’s also been distant. I think he views himself as a steward rather than a surrogate father. He always did think he was second best, even at what he excelled at. Both of us miss you, Anakin.

                No matter how many notes I write to burn, my heart will always be yours. Even if I die a thousand deaths, the pain will still be there. And if I live a thousand years, my every breath will whisper your name.

                Come home, Anakin.

The note was unsigned, but the handwriting was unmistakably Padme—besides, a hint of her perfume floated from the soft notepaper. Vader turned the sheet of paper over. On the other side was a simple drawing in pencil. Two pairs of hands—one soft and feminine, the other strong and calloused, with an eerily familiar glove on one of the pair—were clasped in each other, the curves and shapes evoking deep affection and commitment. Vader almost choked at the beautiful realism of the artwork. What was worse, the drawing had been done in Obi-Wan’s characteristic style. He looked to the bottom of the page. It was dated to early in the Clone Wars. A lump grew in Vader’s throat. Obi-Wan had known, even then?

A short postscript had been added in faded lilac ink, in Obi-Wan’s strong, flowing, elegant hand. The light is always on for you, and the back door is always open. It was signed with Obi-Wan’s full name: Ae’enn Narshala Obi-Wan Joseph Kenobi. Vader swallowed. The emotion shone through clearly in Obi-Wan’s creative flair, his unique style; Anakin had never noticed that before. He swallowed back tears, and rose to his feet.

It was time to go home.

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