Sunday, April 05, 2009

Monday in Holy Week

The Apostle Paul, whose name I bear, via my dad (also named Paul), often irritates and frustrates me in his writings. I willingly concede that some of that is my human resistance to being challenged, though I did take an entire course in Pauline theology in seminary because I was having difficulties with him - which is hardly avoidance or turning from challenge. Even so, I find it increasingly difficult to be nourished by the rabbinical arguments that worked for him in his original context.

Yet there are gems.

We quote them, cherish them, draw life from them.

And, au fond, I suspect he was a bhakti, an intellectual curmudgeon whose heart was transformed by an experience that left him with an overwhelming devotion to the One whose followers he had formerly persecuted.

That, at least, is my current response to Philippians 3.8, depicted below:

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

I fell in love with the following piece of music (and the entire Bach St. Matthew Passion) when I was 19 years old. I doubt that there is any piece of music that still moves me as much.

Erbarme dich, mein Gott. Have mercy on me, my God.

--the BB


Ellie Finlay said...

Thank you so much for posting this, Paul. Lovely, luminous, moving beyond any expression, just right.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

How wonderfl!

RE Julia Hamari...

Since I am generally bad with names I don't really remember, but I think a saw her at the Madrid Opera (the one that was closed for many years because one of the biggest metropolitan junctions was just below...) in 1976 in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito.