Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cathererine of Sienna, April 29

I think she had a severe eating disorder myself.  But nobody's perfect.  She lived during a difficult time of plagues, wars, civil wars, even waring popes.  She defied her parents who wanted to her to do what nice preteens of her time did - marry well for the family and instead went to live with a bunch of other defiant independent women who took care of people no one else would.  She told the pope to grow up and come back to Rome and do his job.   She even defied her own confessor who tried to get her to eat for her own sake and that's probably what paralysed and killed her at age 33.

She also told a lot of people that God loved them.  An important message that could have gotten lost in the midst of everything else. 

"Strange that so much suffering is caused because of the misunderstandings of God's true nature. God's heart is more gentle than the Virgin's first kiss upon the Christ. And God's forgiveness to all, to any thought or act, is more certain than our own being."

The Resolution I'm Supporting and then Hopefully I'll Shut Up About this...


WHEREAS, Augsburg Fortress, Publishers, a separately incorporated program unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, terminated its defined benefit pension plan by action of its Board of Trustees in December 2009; and

WHEREAS, the termination of the Augsburg Fortress defined benefit pension plan has adversely affected approximately 500 present and former employees; and

WHEREAS, individuals have asked about the background and reasons for the actions of the Augsburg Fortress Board of Trustees, and it is important to provide accurate and complete information regarding the termination; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the __________ Synod Assembly requests the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to conduct a review of the actions of management and trustees of Augsburg Fortress, Publishers, regarding the background of, reasons for, and implications of the termination of its defined benefits pension plan, and to report on the results of the review at the November 2010 meeting of the Church Council; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the _________ Synod Assembly direct the Synod Council to forward this resolution to the Church Council for consideration and possible action.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nobody Knows the Whole Story and THAT's the problem!

Erik over Koinonia points out rightly, that everybody has an opinion and a judgment about the recent Augsborg-Fortress Pension mess., but nobody knows the whole story.   That is the problem.   We don't know the whole story.  There's a lot of unanswered questions.  And it seems to me, some people would like to keep it that way.   The lawyers are in charge.  I got nothing against lawyers.  But the church never looks good when lawyers speak for the church.

I don't doubt that the people who tried to clean up this mess of a disaster tried to do the best they could with what they had.   I would like to believe the mess wasn't caused by maleficence - but I don't know.  That's the problem.  Maybe the "perfect storm" explanation is true.  I don't know.  I don't have enough information.  Maybe this would have happened even if they had followed the federal laws that other non-church companies have to follow.  I don't know. That's the problem.

This I know.  The church should follow the same laws that protect its employees that other corporations must follow.  The church should not use being a church as an excuse to screw it's employees.  That is just wrong.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Please Don't Fiddle with the Calendar

This has bugged me ever since the ELCA decided on it's own to change up the calendar and move all the feast days away from Sunday to a Monday.  It started a big old discussion on the ELCA facebook page when they innocently enough declared Monday was the Commemoration of St. Mark  and I and others responded..." it's not- that was yesterday"

I hate to be on a pick on the ELCA kick and God knows the stuffy legalise cover your ass way they are responding to the injustice of the Augsburg Fortress pension scandal  is more serious than what day you decide to commemorate a saint...but still  ...

The response I got from whomever runs the facebook says "well you aren't supposed to do the feast day on a Sunday in Easter anyway.  ??? But I always write something about the commemoration and I figure more people will know about it on a Sunday than a Monday.  What ELCA churches had special worship services yesterday to commemorate Mark?  

And besides they also did it with commemorations in the Green season which I just think is very sad.  It's good to break up the long seasons after Pentecost and to hear some bible stories you don't hear in the regular lectionary and to pay some attention to some bible folks you might not think about otherwise - especially women like Mary Magdalene.  And it just seems like going to wrong direction to decide not going to join our Christian brothers and sisters who commemorate the person on that day and do our own thing.  We need MORE unity, not less.  Do we really want a commemoration to be yet ANOTHER thing that divides us --even if only by a day?

Of course not all churches took advantage of the option to celebrate feast days.  A lot of the churches I served did until I came around.  I'm a bit of a history buff so I'm into that sort of thing.  Sometimes I'd even break the rules like this Lent I preached on Perpetua and Felicity.  Broke two rules - In the Lutheran church only saints from the bible are supposed to supercede the day of the year and only in Green seasons, certainly not Lent.  Oh well.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

More Things that Make me Smile...

Tommy & Freddy cuddling...

Grape Hyacinth

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Five - What is There to Smile About?

So the gals at RevGalBlogPals are talking about smiling.

I did read once that smiling will actually make you feel better.  However I want to point out that women are expected to always smile and that makes me NOT want to smile all the time.   You know what I really hate?? When some stranger comes up to me and tells me to smile. And it's always men who do that.  Who the hell do they think they are to tell me to smile?  Once a salesman at Sears did that and I went to customer service and complained.  That is SO sexist and patronizing.   Do not effin tell me to smile!

Oh wait - this is supposed to be a happy post.  When I feel like smiling, I have a very nice smile I think.

1. When were you smiling lately?  One of my kitties, Baby is overweight.  I try to get her to exercise every day - she's kind of lazy.  But I was holding a string in the air and I swear she jumped six inches in air to get it.  It was really cute to see her hurl her chubby little body in the air.  Most of the time she looks like this:

2. What happened unexpectedly to you this past week?  Heard from my sister in California and she is seriously considering moving out here.  That made me smile!

3. How was a catastrophe averted (or not)?  Let's see.. I forget a lot of stuff. I have so much on my mind and am easily distracted.  Honestly I think I have adult A.D.D.  I totally forgot Sunday afternoon I was supposed to participate in an Eagle Scout thingy and someone called me and asked what time it was.  Thank you Jesus.  And the person who called.

4. What was the most delicious thing you ate?  Oh it has to be that candied bacon I made Monday. And I am proud to say I have one piece left so I was very disciplined about not eating it all at once.

5. Did you see any good movies or read any books or articles?  Last night I read a very short book ~ Passing by Nella Larson, one of the writers of the Harlem Renaissance.  Was QUITE surpised by the ending. 

Louie Armstrong makes me smile

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Disappointing though not surpising

is how gleefully the Word Alone/CORE types have latched onto the Augsburg-Fortress pension scandal..   They seem much more excited to catch the ELCA in a sin than concerned about the actual people hurt by this.  NOW they are more than happy to point to ELCA social statements.

It grates on me to have to be on their side on this...of course the difference is that I take no satisfaction in having to call the ELCA to task on this.

The ELCA Needs to STEP UP!

I thought this back when I first heard about this and now that someone is suing Augsburg-Fortress and it's in the Wall Street Journal - I'm going to publically take the ELCA to task.  They cannot distance themselves from this.  Augsburg Fortress was allowed to underfund their pension under the guise that it was a "church plan" and not subject to laws designed to keep these kinds of plans from failing.  Okay I assume the whole reason the "We are a church" excuse is allowed is because WE ARE A CHURCH AND WE TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN!  (well one would hope we take care of others than our own but at least our own for sure!)  So now that the pension fund has failed it is REPREHENSIBLE  (not to mention embarrassing --no shameful ) for the ELCA to say "Oh that has nothing to do with us"  And how EMBARRASSING - no SHAMEFUL that it is taking a LAWSUIT to get the CHURCH to do the right thing.  And if we don't care about doing the right thing, we should at least care at HOW BAD this makes us look as a I don't know ...HYPOCRITES?

Perhaps we need to read our own social statement on Economic Justice -

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

RIP Dorothy Height - Godmother of the Civil Rights Movement

"I learned that there is no advantage in bitterness, that I needed to go into action, which is something I have tried to follow since," 

"Greatness is not measured by what a man or woman accomplishes, but by the opposition he or she has overcome to reach his goals.”

"If the time is not ripe, we have to ripen the time."

"We have to improve life, not just for those who have the most skills and those who know how to manipulate the system. But also for and with those who often have so much to give but never get the opportunity.”

"If you worry about who is going to get credit, you don't get much work done. "

"I want to be remembered as someone who used herself and anything she could touch to work for justice and freedom.... I want to be remembered as one who tried."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday mid-morning Skating Video

This is John Zimmerman & Stephanie Stiegler from the 1997 Nationals. I still think it is one of the most creative and interesting pairs programs ever.  He is one of those rare pair skaters that you watch as much if not more than the lady.  The year after this she had a shoulder injury and he paired up with Kyoko Ina who had just finished 4th at the 98 Olympic with Jason Dungjen.  Jason now skates pairs professionally with Yuka Sato.  Are following all of that?

Candied Bacon

Yes, the irony of this post right after the one before is not lost on me.  But I  only had a couple of pieces!  What I wanted while driving home from my early morning power skating class was to stop at Mac Donalds and get one of those McGriddles.  Instead, I came home and made these with French Toast.  

Preheat oven to 400

8 pieces of thick bacon - lay on grill over a foil lined baking sheet.

1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbl Maple Syrup
1 Tbl bourbon
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp ginger

Mix that all up - brush it on one side of the bacon - bake 10 minutes, turn bacon over and brush the other side. - Bake another ten minutes.  Longer if you like it crispier.  It's a very delicate flavor.  Very good.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


So according to Pretty Good Lutherans,  Lake Wobegone has a new interm lady pastor, Pastor Ham who ate three caramel rolls in one sitting and "filled out" the pulpit.  Needless to say, many of us are very disappointed that he chose to portray a female clergy in this manner.

Let me just get this out there.   While I enjoy a lot of the Lake Wobegone stories, I am not a particular fan of Garrison Keillor especially after he threw a hissy fit  and quit when the New Yorker hired Tina Brown as editor.  I think he's sexist and not a little arrogant.  But then talented people often are, arrogant that is.

But let's be honest here.  There are a LOT of overweight female clergy.  Yes, plenty of men too but I think there are more women.  Sorry.  I'm overweight.   But let me justify myself by saying a) I am in good enough shape that I can hold my own in weekly 6 am power skating class with 10 year olds and teenagers  b)  I will only eat one caramel roll even though I want 3  c)  I still don't have to shop at Lane Bryant.

We clergy don't take good care of ourselves.  And dispite all the workshops and speakers that are thrown our way about "clergy self-care" the honest truth is that the church does not support or make it easy for clergy to take care of themselves.  A lot of clergy drink too much and engage in all kinds of self-destructive and community damaging behavior so really if a lot of us are self-medicating with caramel could be worse.

My late husband had a method for dealing with our kids whining "Sarah called me stupid"  my son would whine.  Loren:  "Are you stupid?"  "NO!"  "Okay well then what does she know"  That worked with our kids.  When he tried it on a kid in the home for troubled adolescent boys where he worked it went like this...."He called me stupid!"  "Are you stupid?"  "Well, yea but he didn't have to say it!"

Are a lot of clergy women fat?  Yea but he didn't have to say it!  Garrison Keillor makes fun of Lutherans and midwesterners in general.  A lot of people might argue that ALL of his stereotypes are outdated.   A lot of feminists and Gays have been annoyed with him for some time.  But he's been married  enough times, he should know -  you NEVER call a woman fat.  Unforgivable.

Two Roman Catholic Churches

Nicolas Kristof in today's  NYT Op ed  "A Church Mary can love"  articulates what I have often thought about the Roman Catholic church -- he talks about two churches --one patriarchal and oppressive and one grassroots and radical in its demands for social justice and care for the poor.  I've always been fascinated by the Catholic church because of this dichotomy - in some ways it can be so full of grace and yet my secretary heard nothing of grace as she was growing up in it.  

   It survived as long as it has because it was able (at times) to be a big tent and encompass such a variety of people and points of view.  Yes, there was the inquisition but honestly if they were ALWAYS burning people who disagreed with the party line, there would be nothing left.  

I suppose this "saint and sinner" persona is no different than any other church or even each Christian but perhaps because of it is so old, it is so big, it so visible you notice it more.

Kristof says in his piece:

So when you read about the scandals, remember that the Vatican is not the same as the Catholic Church. Ordinary lepers, prostitutes and slum-dwellers may never see a cardinal, but they daily encounter a truly noble Catholic Church in the form of priests, nuns and lay workers toiling to make a difference. 

I believe this is true of not just the Catholic Church, but as the church catholic as well.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Don't they have a president to elect or something?

So the Missouri Synod has put out a statement ---"Theological Implications of the 2009 ELCA Decisions"  No I didn't read it, not going to and I'm not sharing the link.  You can look it up.  But really - Don't they have anything else to talk about but us?   

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


First come the daffodils

Then the tulips

Even these radish seedlings look beautiful to me.

So Do I even NEED to explain the IRONY?

So nearby ELCA church votes to leave the ELCA and affiliate with the LCMC.  Pastor comes to ELCA conference rostered leaders meeting and asks to continue to be invited and says how important it is as a witness that we continue to work together.

Of course we said yes but am I the only one who sees an inconsistency here????

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Facebook fan page that people I think should know better have joined


Really--so now this is a contest among bishops?  On Facebook?  Seriously?  That's where we are now?  Well I guess it's better than Athanasius and Arius sending their monks out to beat each other up

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Skating Video

Synchronized skating is a team sport in which 8-20 skaters perform a program together.  The World Championships were last week.  US Team Haydenettes won the bronze.  Here they are at last year's worlds.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Telling the Truth, the Whole Truth

If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.  1 John 1:6-10

An unnamed ELCA seminary professor criticized Susan Hogan over at Pretty Good Lutherans for talking about suicide and domestic violence in the church.

Perhaps he thinks if we don't talk about it, it will go away.  Oh wait.  We tried that for generations.  Nope, it didn't go away.

In fact, sweeping it under the rug is what helps perpetuate it.  It reinforces the idea that there is something shameful about depression and suicide and therefore keeps people with depression from seeking help, adds to their despair and puts their lives in even more danger.  Pretending that there is no domestic violence in the church keeps women from seeking help because they assume there must be something wrong with them and puts their lives in danger.  

And lets not EVEN go into what damage sweeping sexual abuse in the church under the rug has caused. 

The Church is not perfect and Christians are not immune to the same sins, illnesses, and tragedies that befall non-Christians.  What we do as a Christian community is share one another's burdens, uplift, pray and care for one another.  We cannot do that if we are discouraged from sharing our burdens whatever they may be.

I am frankly disturbed that an ELCA seminary professor thinks this way and I believe he should be named.  Since he wrote to share his criticism I assume he is not ashamed of his position and should be held accountable for it. Oh but that's right.  He prefers the darkness.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Five- On the Road Again

The folks at RevGalBlogPals are talking about Road trips.  My husband was a big Willie Nelson fan so I have to include their video

1. When was your last, or will be your next, out of town travel?

Eight hour road trip to Indianapolis to compete at the Adult Midwestern Sectional Figure Skating Championships.  My daughter came along as my coach.  I had a great time.  I won a gold medal in Interpretive - Comedy - skating as an old lady to "When I'm 64" - It was the end of the competition and I made the judges laugh.

2. Long car trips: love or loathe?  
I don't mind them.  Some of my best memories are the road trip vacations I took with my husband-even though my daughter always got car sick and we had a saying "The vacation is not over until Sarah pukes!"

3. Do you prefer to be driver or passenger? 
My husband always used to drive.  Now I drive.  I guess I like to be in control.

4. If passenger, would you rather pass the time with handwork, conversing, reading, listening to music, or ??? 
If someone else is driving on a long road trip--like when I shared driving duty on our youth mission trip to Louisiana I like to stay awake and talk to the driver to keep them awake.  Otherwise I'm more likely to sleep.

5. Are you going, or have you ever gone, on a RevGals BE? Happiest memories of the former, and/or most anticipated pleasures of the latter? 
Got no money for that.

6. Bonus: a favorite piece of road trip music.

Actually I like listening to my Teaching Company Lectures when I drive.  I also like to listen to Brandi Carlile.


A pastor should not complain about his congregation, certainly never to other people, but also not to God.  A congregation has not been entrusted to him in order that he should become its accuser before God and men.  When a person becomes alienated from a Christian community in which he has been placed and begins to raise complaints about it, he had better examine himself first to wee whether the trouble is not due to his wish dream that has been shattered by God...
Life Together
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Teacher, Martyr, died April 9, 1945

Thursday, April 8, 2010

RIP The Rev. Darelene Grega

I did not know Pastor Grega.  But there's few enough of us ELCA lady pastors that you feel an affinity towards another one whether you know them or not.  She was the first ELCA and first female chaplain at Valpraisio.  All I really know of her is that she couldn't pray in public when the Missouri Lutheran president showed up to preach and that she was very gracious about it.

Chrystal over at Soul Munchies has some very nice reflections about Pastor Grega and her work at Valpraisio.  And Pretty Good Lutherans has some information.

She, her family and friends and all the folks at Valpraisio are in my prayers.

One Day Without Shoes


In some developing nations, children must walk for miles to school, clean water and to seek medical help.  
Cuts and sores on feet can lead to serious infection.  
Often, children cannot attend school barefoot.  
In Ethiopia, approximately one million people are suffering from Podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease caused by walking barefoot in volcanic soil.  
Podoconiosis is 100% preventable with basic foot hygiene and wearing shoes.  
So this guy starts a shoe company with the purpose of donating shoes to needy children.  There are SO SO many ways to help and make a difference in this world.

 But I really HATE going barefoot.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"He is not here"

   A Christian should be where Christ is. If Christ is not here, a Christian should not be here. That is why no one can find a Christ or a Christian in any particular set of rules…. He has left behind the grave clothes, namely, worldly justice, wisdom, piety, law and the like. …These are all grave clothes. He never puts on grave clothes nor can a Christian.

~Martin Luther

A Little Rant about Church Transfers

When I started in the ministry – church transfers were handled in this way. If someone wanted to transfer their church membership within the ELCA and its predecessors – the new church where they were attending would write a letter to the church they were a currently a member and ask for a transfer. As a pastor I would not approve transfers until I had heard from the church itself that they were indeed taking responsibility for that person. That was an orderly way to ensure that the person was entrusted to the care of a congregation.

Well none of that happens anymore. People call up the church and ask for a transfers all the time. I used to try to fight it and get confirmation from the church to which they were transferring but people treated me like I was crazy and when I didn’t even get support from my bishop in a former synod when people in my congregation complained that I was doing that I gave it up. So now I just sign the transfer papers having no idea if these people really are going to join the church or not.

When I moved into this synod and the Bishop told us  pastors that if someone from a nearby colleagues’ church was showing interest in transferring we were to CALL that pastor and have a discussion, with the idea in mind that there may be some sort of misunderstanding or reconciliation that could take place to keep the person in their original church. That never happens here either. There’s a church a few miles away that is leaving the ELCA and that pastor never calls me to tell me that my folks are going to church over there or that they are thinking of transferring. I just get the call from the folks asking for a transfer. I once even marched into his office and confronted him about it, quoting the bishop and he gave me no satisfactory answer. Now that they are leaving the ELCA I suppose I’ll see even more of those transfers.

It’s not about being possessive about members. It’s about community. It’s about spiritual care of one another. It’s not good for people to be able to just hop around from church to church because they don’t like what this pastor is saying or what hymns this church is singing or if someone looked at them funny after church. It’s about seeing ourselves as part of the larger church and individual congregations are expressions of that so we can work together to make sure people are care for. My secretary just looks at me and says “Nobody does thinks that” Oh well. At least my bishop sees things my way.

Abide with Me- Elizabeth Strout

                            I stayed up till 1 am finishing this book.  Which may lead you to believe I'm going to give it a favorable review.  I am with one important caveat.

It's a well written, captivating story of a minister in the 50s in a small town who is dealing with the tragic death of his young wife and two children one of whom is acting out in her grief.  And the congregation who welcomed him with open arms is beginning to turn on him because he and his child are not grieving fast enough to take care of them properly.   

So if you know anything about me, you can see why this story was particularly captivating for me.  It is my own story.  There's a scene where the school principal, teacher and school psychologist have summoned the minister to the a meeting where they smugly tell him what is wrong with his daughter when they don't have a clue.  I've been in that very meeting myself.

This is my only complaint.  The happy ending is bullshit.  When a congregation turns on a pastor there is no happy ending.  I know this from the experiences of beloved colleagues and personal experience.  But I can't really complain about a fanciful happy ending.  If I wanted reality I could just look at what is going on with friends now.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Other Artists commemorated this day

Lucas Cranach was a close friend of Luther and know as the portraitist of many of the reformers.  He did most of the portraits of Luther we are familiar with.

Matthias Gruenewald was an important German renaissance painter of religious works.  His most famous work is the Eisenheim Altarpiece,  painted for an altar in  a monastery in France.   

" I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."

Micheangelo Buonarotti, Artist 1564

The best artist has that thought alone
Which is contained within the marble shell;
The sculptor's hand can only break the spell
To free the figures slumbering in the stone.
Also commemorated this day, Albert Durer, Painter 1528,   Lucas Cranach the Elder, Painter, 1553; matthias Grunweald, painter, 1528

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Skating Video

Isabell Brassuer and Lloyd Eisler's "Patricia the Stripper"  - a classic from 1994.  Everyone loves a guy in drag.

The View from my Kitchen Window

The daffodils are from the South Side of the house - They always bloom first but I never go over there so I usually miss them.  I decided I'd enjoy them more in my kitchen.  That view almost makes washing dishes enjoyable.  In Wisconsin I lived in parsonage where you had to look at the wall to wash dishes.  Must have been designed by a man who never washes dishes.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Left over Ham bone? HAM STOCK!

Ham stock is wonderful.    

I won't even bother to make Gumbo without it. But even just to cook some beans and rice in ham stock really makes it so much richer.  And it's so easy.

I cooked a spiral cut ham for Easter dinner.  Spent a good amount of time trying to find the smallest one available but there's still a lot left over but the kids can take ham back to school.  So you cut as much ham off the bone as you can.  As you see, I left a lot of ham on it, it comes off a lot easier afterward.

Put the ham in a large stockpot and cover with cold water.  

Add some celery stalks - even the leftover leafy part from the celery you cut up for Easter dinner....a couple of pieces of onion, some garlic, I had a piece of red bell pepper that was getting soft.  

Whatever old veggies you have that you will probably throw out in a few days - throw them in there.  Add some peppercorns.  Bring it all to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer, put the lid on, and go take a nap for a few hours.

A few hours later, strain it, pour it in gallon zip lock bags, label and freeze it.  

You have this year's supply of ham stock.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I found a new blog I love

Dirty Sexy Ministry.  No really. Check it out.  These women are like me. 

I have to give Peacebang over at Beauty Tips for Ministers for finding it.

The Harrowing of Hell

The "Harrowing of Hell" is the ancient church teaching that when Jesus died he "descended into hell" as the Apostles and Nicene Creed teaches.  Well it says he went to Hades which could just mean he died.  He was dead.  And when the creeds were developed they were fighting some notions that he didn't really died, just looked like he died.  The Creeds say, no he died and he went where people who die go.  Wherever that is.

But there is that interesting line from I Peter 3:19
He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 
Biblical scholars really don't know what to make of that.  But the early church, particularly the Eastern church knew what to do with that.  Jesus stormed the gates of hell and freed Adam and Eve and all those imprisoned by sin, death and the devil.  

The Acts of Pilate, a third century apocryphal text describes the Harrowing of hell in this way:
The bronze gates were broken in pieces and the bars of iron were snapped; and all the dead who were bound were loosed from their chains, and we with them. And the King of Glory entered like a man, and all the dark places of Hades were illumined..

I'm very taken with this image.  This is what I said last year about that:

.....there is something very appealing about the ancient traditions of Jesus invading hell itself and releasing all the souls trapped there. If Hell is the place of total darkness and absence from God, Jesus' invasion of it shows there is no place that can hold God back. There is no darkness Christ's Light cannot illumine. In fact, if Hell is the absence of God, and Christ has invaded Hell, it no longer even exists! There is no longer exists a place where God is absent.
There is a beautiful homily on Jesus freeing Adam from hell on Holy Saturday by an anonymous Eastern priest from maybe third century that I posted here last year.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Oh Head of blood and wounding

O head of blood and wounding,
Of pain and scorn so full,
O Head, for spite now fettered
Beneath a crown of thorns,
O head, once fair and lovely,
With highest praise adorned,
But highly now insulted,
All hail to thee, I say!
Thou countenance so noble,
At which should shrink and quail
The mighty world's great burden,
How spat upon thou art;
How pale thou art become now!
Who hath thine eyes' bright light,
Alike no other light once,
So shamefully abused?

St. Matthew Passion
© Z. Philip Ambrose, translator