Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Missing Note

According to a Tweet, Mozart's kids would taunt their father by playing incomplete scales on the piano, forcing him to rush downstairs and complete them. Mozart, if this be true, could not tolerate the irresolution of an incomplete musical scale.

Christians across the world know something of this irresolution, something of this incompleteness. For yesterday we dwelled together in the silence left by the death of Jesus on Good Friday. The one on whom so many had pinned their hopes and dreams, we observed with great solemnity on Friday, had failed. As the sun set on Friday evening, those who loved Jesus were plunged into deep silence:
  • The screaming crowds had gone home.
  • The jeering soldiers had packed up their hammers and nails, they had collected their dice and returned to camp.
  • And Jerusalem had witnessed another execution, another crucifixion, yet another spectacle of an anguished death. 
And, as far as the world was concerned, death had silenced Jesus forever. 

On Good Friday, the Church felt the weight of the world's silence. Indeed, the silence of Jesus' tomb...
  • the sorrowful silence of those whose lives have been ravaged by acts of violence and terror. 
  • is the desperate silence of those awaiting news of children trapped in a capsized ferry or loved ones on a lost airplane. 
  • is the silence of a world that easily and often turns a blind eye to the plight of the needy and a deaf ear to the cries of the poor. 
Long before we were connected by text messages and the internet, we were connected by the common and primordial response to human tragedy: silence. 

Sometimes, I wonder how those close to Jesus responded during the first hours after the crucifixion. 

Did Mary sneak into the room where Jesus last slept? Did she quietly caress the pillow and smell the bedsheets, hoping to catch the scent of her son? 

Did Peter and James and John wander the streets, in shock and unable to take everything in?

Did Mary Magdalene's heart ache? Did she know, thousands of years before C.S. Lewis, that "...grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness...a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me."

Jesus' disciples and friends could neither have known nor expected what we hold by faith: that the deafening silence of Holy Saturday was but a prelude to the great symphony of the Resurrection. For when Easter's light pierced death's darkness, we hold that the Risen One completes the great work he began, that he gives us a new melody by which which to live. This is because the Risen Jesus is no longer one note among others. Instead, he is now the very melody into which our lives are being drawn as we are woven together and arranged into one great symphony of praise to the God of Life. 

We, as a Church, have faced together the terror of the Cross. We have not shrunk back. We have not fled. Instead, we have approached with fear and trembling this ancient instrument of torture because we know that, at the Cross, we tune our lives to the key of Jesus. 

This morning, all of creation sings a new song. The song of life, the song of the Resurrection, pours forth from the Empty Tomb. The unresolved silence has been broken. And we are invited into the heavenly chorus where we celebrate Jesus' conquest of death and rejoice that, each and every one of us, is being called to take our place in the song of victory. 

Each one of us, in a sense, is a musical note. Some of us are sharp, some of us are flat, and some of us don't yet know where we fit on the musical scale. Yet all of us hear, in the depths of our hearts, an invitation to allow ourselves to be written into the symphony Jesus writes with those who give them their hearts and allow their lives to sing of God's grace. 

This day, we do hear merely Jesus' completion of a temporary scale, a simple series of notes. Instead, we find salvation, life without end in God's Kingdom, where the terrible silence of Good Friday has been replaced by Easter's joy, where Friday's tears are turned into Easter's dancing. 

For this is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad! The symphony of the Resurrection has again be renewed and we are, all of us, invited to play with joy with Jesus forever. 

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