Saturday, April 07, 2007

Confessions of a Gentile

It is now Holy Week and I write this just before Easter Vigil a few hours from now. Yesternight we sang at a Good Friday Service. I sang what is called “Reproaches.” In this piece Jesus is asking the people of Israel what he did to make them hate him so. In the refrain he says “tell me. Give answer!” It is usually well-received and many in the church have listened to cathartic effect, yet I grieved when I sang it, as it reminded me of an altogether different effect such songs would have on the faithful in years past—and maybe present.

This grew when the crowd venerated the cross (a symbol Christians could not stand for the first 200 years), reflecting on what Christ did to save them. Some kneel and pray, some kneel and cry, some merely touch it and go on. I walked over, gripped the crossbeam, and prayed this prayer:

“God, by crosses like this one, Your Chosen People were slaughtered. Be it hooked cross or straight, Christians used it as an excuse to slay, kill, murder the very Jews from whom You said springs salvation. Our hope and triumph of the Holy Week, the candles and the incense, causes the Jews to douse their candles and hide for fear of Easter death. These murders were not from a few, but from thousands, tens of thousands, over the centuries, and our Church approved some of these.

“Is it your will, O God that Your People die? Is this a hidden message of Easter, that we men make a mockery of your talk of love? How can we speak of peace and joy when we wield axes in our hands?"

"Tell me! Give answer!"

I have received none.