We underwent our first communally complete Easter these past weeks at the
Capella Santa Sophia in Oslo. It is difficult to explain what were going on – although we were together, we were each on our own journeys – perhaps a mirror of what might have occured to the disciples when Jesus disappeared, some would say – died. The exterior, visible focus of attention – the beloved,adored or appreciated person whose presence assured and affirmed the community, where just lifted out of it with a quick and precise thrust.
Instead of the anticipated multi-purpouse answer, instead of the assurance and affirmation of expectation – a deep question, an unease, a restlessness – replaces it. Now, I have a suspicion the adherents of mainstream of western religiousity much prefers it otherwise – notice how important Christmas is, the advent of the child – who has promise, who is glory and hope and belongs to the future. Despite all the talk about being “Born again”, they get enthused about Christmas but only obliquely nostalgic over the bloody and cataclysmic time of Good Friday. I am quite grateful I now have been able to enter into another chamber, a lower, subterreneous chamber – of the mystery which is Easter – where things really happen. A time out of time. A space out of space.
Strangely, immersed in the oppressive darkness and silence of the tomb – it was the heartbeat of the womb I heard; and the two became superimposed.
What happens when we after a very long struggle to maintain our grasp on things, when all manner of prestige,encouragement and pressure can no longer assist or fuel our pursuit to that end.. when we loose?
The answer is what makes anyone victorious – Grace, Mercy, Beneficence, Love.
“And it happened that day, when John had come up to the temple, that a Pharisee named Arimanius approached him and said to him, “Where is your master whom you followed?” And John replied, saying : “He has gone to the place from which he came.” The Pharisee said to him, “With deception did this Nazarene deceive you (pl.), and he filled your ears with lies, and closed your hearts (and) turned you from the traditions of your fathers.”
When John heard these things he turned away from the temple, and went to a desert place. And he was greatly troubled in his heart, saying, “How then was the savior appointed, and why was he sent into the world by his Father, and who is his Father who sent him, and of what sort is that aeon to which we shall go? For what did he mean when he said to us, ‘This aeon to which you will go is of the type of the imperishable aeon, but he did not teach us concerning the latter, of what sort it is.” A paraphrase of the beginning of the Apocryphon of John.
I feel these questions lay at the root of the Christian Mystery tradition, and addresses the things which Jesus promised his disciples to speak of “plain and without parables” – in effect the instruction which easter day would bring to the candidates for Initiation (baptism) in the primitive Church.