Sunday, April 8, 2012


I was late, and was foiled in attempts to sneak through the back where incidentally the choir was set up and already singing, no seats to be found so I kept moving forward, finally settling on the cold marble steps of the altar in almost complete darkness as the tintinnabulated voices and mournful strings soared up into the vaulted ceiling as the sunset light shining through the stained glass windows faded into darkness.

The words of John's gospel translated from Latin, the chorus of voices narrating, and I marveled at the banality of the church music I grew up hearing that lacked the gravitas, the weight of sadness, the magnitude of events sanitized by a culture that cherishes positivity rather than profundity and sanitizes anything morbid or painful. I read through highlighted pages of Isaiah, of brutalized suffering servants and promises of judgment and mercy and the intensity of the sound and its meaning overwhelms me in the darkness so perfect for pondering, because it's just me and sound and God and here, here is exactly where I needed to be.

 I sit there scrawling prayers into a notebook and weeping because while it's sunk in before, it's hit nerves that have never been quite so exposed, of the injustice of the state, the toxicity of misguided religiosity, of betrayal and desertion of one's closest friends, of selflessness and incomprehensible love, of our own pathetic mortality and attempts at morality. Forgive us, for we know not what we do, it is so hard to even begin to understand.

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