Holy Week 2020 and Jonah’s Hymn Reupholstered (Jonah 2: 3-10)
(1) Holy Week 2020
Triumphant Entry Into Jerusalem: CANCELED. Wherever two or three are gathered heavy fines are issued. No palms this Sunday; no leaves yet; even the pussy willows wave their downy little hands to nobody in parks barricaded empty. Churches shuttered pray the Lord of land and sky doesn’t demand the rent. Lots of people quarantined asking about last suppers… which one will it be for the loved one infected? Handwashing? Yes, always. It can’t be too often. But keep your shoes on; there’ll be no feet touching and besides you might need to run. Icky emptiness sticks to the brain after hours of binge watching TV Masses. How can this week ever end in Resurrection when the curve keeps shooting straight up to heaven? Gethsemane. Then Golgotha. Don’t rush them. This year they want more time and attention. But don’t be scared. For Christ, all this is familiar territory.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ (2) Jonah's Hymn Reupholstered (Jonah 2: 3-10) Coughing in the craw of corona I cried to you, O Lord, and you, in defiance of all demands of social distancing took me snug into your arms! Pitched into dark seething waters of viral TMI, locked out of churches, cafes and school rooms I quaked with questions: “Where will we ever meet again?” Fever flaming in around me; surgical masks effacing smiles; all my pleasant pastimes gone extinct, someone just panic-bought my soul convinced its recent bitterness was anti-bacterial. I’m about to hit rock bottom uncertainty where all bets on faith are off. But my bootstraps you pull up, O God, and my shut-in, bone-bored body follows. In my distress I kept pressing SEND on the prayers texted in my deep down cells. And in the quiet temple of my heart that no public health order can ever close you answered without devices, sighing “all will be well” in your typically inscrutable tone freed from the noise of normal, for normal, by mysterious decree, no longer holds, nor holds back, as it once did, my sacrificial shouts of gratitude.