Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012.12.19 Bloody Marvelous Hope

Blessed is the act, the act of defiance, the act of justice
that fills the mouth with blood.
Blessed is the act of survival that saves the blood.
Blessed is the act of art that paints the blood
redder than real and quicker, that restores
the fallen tree to its height and birds.

These are words of poet Marge Piercy written on a visit to a holocaust site. She was saying kaddesh as she jotted down her poem.  Kaddesh in Hebrew means sanctification, derived from the word holy.  It is the first blessing prayer said over the cup of wine you drink at the Passover meal.  “Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has kept us alive, sustained and enabled us to reach this wonderful moment.”

I felt renewed anguish seeing the images of 20 small caskets, donated (what more can we do?) by the funeral home in Newtown CT. They will house tiny bodies; they will be present at funerals, rituals of remembrance and intimacy, containers for unmanageable grief, a way to DO something.

 In Advent Christians wait for this “wonderful moment” we call Jesus Christ, the Christ event.  And we ACT in the Eucharist, as Piercy wrote, by drinking “blood,” the wine of holiness. It is an act of defiance—and hope.

In hope, we bless God, in our odd blood-stained meal of justice, intimacy, and remembrance, called Eucharist. God, we say in faith, brings forth (Hebrew ha motzi)  fruit from the vine, bread from the earth, freedom from captivity, truth from error, peace from violence, and life from death.  Go and do likewise!

In the absence of certainty beyond faith, we act in hope—over and over—bloody marvelous hope. 

Are we all nuts?  Of course!  But no: it is certainty that is nuts, not hope.