Light

I’ve been off from work this past week, and it was a wise move, taking off for Holy Week. The days were spent on projects and in preparation. I got to spend time with Seth and with the cat as I finished binding a book that someone had ordered and got to work in earnest once more on the book proposal for the Convivio Book of Days. I started fresh, fresh like spring, and I feel better about the proposal I’ve begun this week, much better than the one I began last fall. My friend Cricket gave me a bag of coffee as inspiration for my writing, and all that’s left is enough for one cup: the cup of coffee I will have when I send her the finished proposal.

We also got to help my mom and sister with Easter baking and we got to go on our annual Holy Thursday night pilgrimage of three churches. It was Seth and me on that pilgrimage and we were out late into the moonlit night. So beautiful. And this year I got to do something I had never done before: I went to church for Good Friday. And that was fine, church was. But the sermon made me uncomfortable and I felt a bit disconnected, until it was all over, when we all left the old church in silence, as we are to do on Good Friday. But as we left, I could hear the sounds of the Creole choir, also from our church. The Creole congregation were in the midst of the Stations of the Cross, outdoors on the sidewalk in front of the older church building, the one from the late 1800s. Their music drew me in and I gathered round the old church with them, leaning up against a live oak tree. They were at the final station. There was wailing and sorrow and there was singing I had never heard before but which sounded so familiar. They made their way then to the main church, the larger, newer one, the one built in 1913. They entered, singing, and I went on my way, content, happier for having run into this extension of myself.

Saturday night, I’ll be back, for the Easter Vigil. It is the hours-long Mass that brings in Eastertide. It can begin only after darkness has fallen, for it is then the third day, which used to confuse me a lot until I realized that different cultures have different ways of reckoning time. No one way is right, for time is such a fluid thing and yet an invention of our making. It will be the beginning of Easter and the second night of Passover, too. We will be there, sitting, standing, kneeling, singing, praying, in a service that will begin in darkness and end in light––a central theme to the Easter Vigil. A fire is kindled and the one light is the source that illuminates all the candles in the church: the candles on the altar, the candles we hold cupped in our hands. We are reminded that light overcomes darkness. We are invited to be that light.

 

7 thoughts on “Light

  1. donna read says:

    So lovely John. Your vivid descriptions filled with details help me imagine that I too am part of your “spiritual story”.
    Thank’s for sharing…

  2. Cari Ferraro says:

    Reading of your devotions brings me such pleasure and memories of growing up in my beautiful Anglican Church. And your disconnect … also a part of my story, but an irreparable one. Lately I have been writing some spiritual memoir, so renewing my connections to other seekers and celebrants, and shining a light on what was and is best about the whole experience, in or out of church. I will be thinking of you tonight at your vigil. Blessings on the journey, John.

    • John Cutrone says:

      Thank you, Cari, I appreciate your blessings. And I think of these things often, too, and find I walk an interesting balance: these things are of my heritage but I am an outsider, too. Yesterday’s sermon did not make me uncomfortable for political reasons but for the nature of what the priest chose to talk about: a graphic explanation of the suffering that comes with crucifixion. Perhaps we needed to hear that, I don’t know.

      As Father Seamus once told me: “This church is as much yours as anyone else’s.” I keep that in mind as I hear words come out of the mouths of some who are more conservative than he is and I hold what is valuable to me and let go what is not. I am myself always and live my life openly. I guess I just do the best I can; hopefully everyone else will, too.

      Blessings on your journey, too. I so appreciate the words and guidance that you send out to the world. (And someday we’ll get our acts together and get a book of yours into the Jaffe Collection!)

  3. Carl and Kathleen Maugeri says:

    Many many thanks

  4. Christopher Maiorana says:

    It’s great catching up with you via the blog, John. Your approach to the seasons and to the ritual experience is so different from what I would usually see at Easter time in my old Greek Othodox church (a lot of grumpy Greeks pushing past each other to get to the Eucharist). (But I kid.) As always, reading your posts reminds me of how important it is to be mindful of how the seasons and so much of life comes and goes.

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