Tag Archives: Christ

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear…

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I don’t know if I remember ever having sung the second verse of this carol. It fell upon me quite suddenly last Sunday morning.

“It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold.
Peace on the earth goodwill to men from heaven’s all gracious King.
The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow,
Look now! For glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road, and hear the angels sing!

For lo! The days are hastening on, by prophets seen of old,
When with the ever circling years shall come the time foretold,
When peace shall over all the earth it’s ancient splendors fling,
And all the world give back the song which now the angels sing.”

I, for one, am looking forward to doing the job of the angels and singing back to the heavens their song, when I’m at the end of the story and can look back on the breadth and the width of it with full knowing. I anticipate the sight of these mysterious ancient splendors flung over the earth and wonder not a little bit if they will be so strange or, rather, if they will be more familiar than I had ever thought. Ah, yes! This is what it was supposed to be like! This is what we were waiting for! This is right! This is why everything else felt so wrong!

So rest, you weary forms toiling along the climbing way, rest in this season and hear the promise in the angels’ song. It’s our song to learn. And one day we will sing it back.

An Easter Dialogue…

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And a frenzied murmur began in the darkness. Come awake! Christ is risen! Come awake! He is risen indeed!

I wrote this for church a few years back. It’s a dialogue or, really, a mesh of two monologues of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. I was intrigued by their parallel stories in connection to the cross. Both of them were followers in secret, until the cross. And, then, when everyone else was hiding in fear the two who had been hidden came forward.

Happy Easter!

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus Dialogue:

Nicodemus: It was Joseph here who went to Pilate for the body.

Joseph of Arimathea: I’m a Council member from Arimathea. Nicodemus helped.

N: I helped to prepare his body.

J: I’m a man of position, quite successful in what I do.

N: I’m a man of belief, and traditions, the rabbi of a nation.

J: Jesus came at an inconvenient time for me.

N: It was an inconvenient time.

J: If I had been younger…

N: In my more revolutionary days…

J: There would have been less at stake.

N: It would have been easier to seek him out.

J: But now I’m enmeshed. I have responsibilities; people depend on me for their livelihoods.

N: A people watches me for guidance, for surety of their faith.

J: His apostles were thought of as crazy fishermen.

N: My peers had already labeled him a heretic.

J: I feared, yes, I was afraid what that stigma might do to my situation.

N: I couldn’t lead others astray with my misplaced approval. I had to test his words for myself.

J: As it was, I followed his teachings in secret.

N: So it was, I looked for him in the night.

J: I believed in Him. He was the Messiah. He gave flesh to the law in his words, with his actions.

N: That conversation with Jesus, things that I had understood for so long became confusing. It was a
paradigm shift of the most severe kind.

J: I wondered if a time would come when I would have to stop hiding.

N: I wondered if there was a day when I would finally understand.

J: Then I heard the news that he’d been imprisoned.

N: They demanded his crucifixion. It was Passover.

J: Everyone was there. I was there. I have money. Some powerful people owe me favors. Surely there would be something I could do? Something somebody would do?

N: Then they lifted him up on the cross. And it all came clear. What he had said to me about Moses’s snake lifted up on a pole in the desert that those who looked upon it might be spared their certain death.

J: Why?

N: Because the Son of Man must be lifted up. I was being spared my certain death. I wanted to shout, “Look on him! Look on him!”

J: Look on him.

N: And I believed.

J: He died.

N: And I was born. Born again as he said, not by flesh but by spirit and into a life that has no end.

J: His friends feared. But someone had to take care of the arrangements. So I stepped forward.

N: This time in the daylight.

J: I claimed him.

N: I brought myrrh and aloe.

J: They were calling the cross his defeat.

N: My fellow council members were satisfied it was over.

J: But I had found boldness there.

N: It had made all things clear.

J: And the best news was still to come,

J&N: Three days later.