April 12th, 2020
It’s a grey and cloudy Easter morning. Karin is in bed. so is the girl we love. The dogs asleep, so I will let them lie.
Karin started making prepations for Easter yesterday. She is dyeing boiled eggs. Karin uses natural dyes for the egg colors (e.g. onion peels for a soft brown hue). She baked braided Easter bread. It looks a lot like challah. She also baked a chocolate coffee cake from scratch.
At some point this morning, three of us will have breakfast together. I suspect that will be the extent of our Easter celebration.
Karin watched the livestream broadcast of the Easter Vigil Mass from the Cathedral of St. John last night. I went to bed. I could have watched the Mass with Karin, but it would have only been a source of frustration to me. The Easter Vigil is a liturgy that should touch all of the human senses. It is not something that a person simply observes. At the Vigil, a participant smells the aromatic smoke from the burning incense, she tastes the bread and the wine, he hears the chanting and the tinkle of the bells, she sees in the darkness of the church all the candles being lit from the flame of the original Easter candle, and he feels the warmth of human company. To me, watching the service is worse than nothing. It seems like voyeurism.
Someone cries out, “Rejoice.”
I’m not good with joy. Frankly, I don’t understand it. I certainly don’t comprehend it in the context of Easter. Not today.
Someone cries out, “Jesus is risen from the dead!” And, your point is…
Easter only makes sense if Jesus is God, and if God loves and cares about humans. All humans, as individuals. I fully accept the idea that there is a God, and that this deity is omnipotent and all-knowing. I have no problem with Jesus being resurrected. However, I find it extraordinarily difficult to believe that He/She/It gives a damn about me or anybody else.
I close my eyes, and often I see the face of a young woman who is lying on a concrete floor. The face is smeared with blood, and she is unconscious. This is a very recent image seared into my memory. When I see it, I can taste the fear and sorrow. I feel lost. I feel that the young woman, the one I love, is abandoned.
Some cries out, “God loves you!” Really…?
David Wolpe, in his book, The Healer of Shattered Hearts, tells a story about the Chasidic rabbi, Levi Yitzak of Bereditchev. It goes like this:
“Right before the Kol Nidre service, the opening service of the Day of Atonement, he stood before the ark as the sun was about to set. For a long time he stood, silent, still, as the evening approached. Noticing that the time to begin prayer was upon them, his students and disciples became uncomfortable, worrying that the rabbi would begin too late. At the last possible moment he spoke.
‘Dear God,’ he said, ‘we come before You this year, as we do every year, to ask Your forgiveness. But in this past year I have caused no death. I have brought no plagues upon the world, no earthquakes, no floods. I have made no women widows, no children orphans. God, you have done these things, not me! Perhaps You should be asking forgiveness from me.’
The great Rabbi paused, and continued in a softer voice, ‘But, since You are God, and I am only Levi Yitzhak, Yisgadal v’yishadah sh’mei rabah (May his great Name be exalted and sanctified), and he began the service.”
Now is the time to pray.