Part II. Good Friday’s Warning
“From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.” (Mt 27:45)
In this greatest of cosmic “signs” in the gospel narrative–the darkening of the world for three hours—our attention is pointed back to the old Exodus story. There Yahweh, in the war of myths with Pharaoh to free the Hebrew slaves, blots out the sun in Egypt for three days–a repudiation of the imperial order legitimized by the sun god Ra. The rhetoric describing this penultimate plague is evocative: “People could not see one another, and for three days they could not move from where they were” (Ex 10:23). What a trope for collective blindness, denial and paralysis, so fitting to the culture of empire still today! (For more on this, see my piece here.)
This Good Friday falls at or near the peak of the Covid-19 plague in the U.S. At the “apocalyptic moment” of Jesus’ crucifixion, we are supposed to pay attention to the lesson of plagues: they are the dramatic expression of the great struggle between Creation and Empire–and of the God who takes sides.
Maybe at 3 pm today we should be out on our porches banging pots for that…
Note: On Thursday Elaine and I and another Farm Church friend skipped the online gathering and went to the back country behind Lake Casitas. In remote Santa Ana creek we washed our own feet in the chilly water under a light drizzle. The next day four of us returned to that chaparral sanctuary and processed with a cross up deserted Santa Ana road. We observed six “stations,” reading from an adapted version of the Ecological Way of the Cross. The site for meditating on Jesus’ Crucifixion was at Grandmother Oak, who is slowly returning to the earth (left). Before her skeleton we recited: “Passion of Earth, strengthen me. Resurrection of Earth, empower me. Within your wounds, hide me.” (Jane Pellowski, Anima Christi.)