• Joia

Today's rhaps is on ... Holy Water

Updated: May 9


Hezekiah's Tunnel to the Pool of Siloam, City of David

The kid selling cigarettes that night in the Old City had a key to the gate, the one leading to the old stone steps down to the Pool of Shiloh, as he called it.


Wading through the tunnel cave, both hands touching clammy rock walls, I soon wanted the adventure to end. Let there be light.


Moonlight there was finally, the Pool of Siloam. A healing ablution open to the night sky. Hezekiah's tunnel, now behind me, finite.


Saturday I felt stuck in Good FridayOrthodox, this weekwith no outlet to Easter. A voice on the other side of the planet, lockdowned out of her church for Holy Week, rescued me and set me on a bridge between the dark night of the soul and the risen grace of mercy. I felt it as Grief.


Grief is motion, painful and active, washing over and through you like holy water, carving out halls to fill with tears, caverns to host fountains, springing from raw ground like streams of freshwater abandoned to the salty sea.


Another voice then said: emotions let free do not kill you; only emotions suppressed. Their motion must flow through you, death to life, darkness to light.


I thought of the monkey-cat debate. Years ago in a class on world religion, I remember presenting the 14th century split between the Vaishnavist monks. In northern India they settled on "monkey-grace": you hang on to God for dear life, like a baby monkey on its mother's back. Get busy, pay the priests and Brahmins their due. The southern Sri Lanka monks, on the other hand, saw "kitten-grace": God reaches down and lifts you up out of danger and pain, like a mother cat swooping up its kitten by the neck. You do nothing. It is done for you.


My Huguenot ancestors followed Martin Luther on this one.


Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound....


I once was serene as black ice, courageous as a waterfall off a cliff, as wise as the sea, but now am lost, blind, mute and deaf.


Grief


Let it wash over you like holy water

Spring fountains full of tears

Fill you with emptiness

Until a sprig of hope

Persists

In solid rock

Above the rushing

Impermanence


Heraclitus says it's Logos

Always changing

Parmenides says Being

Not changing at all

Thales says it's Water

Pythagoras, Number


Lao Tzu says The Way

Cannot be Named


No matter, I am

Powerless to change

The falling Gravity

The rising

Grace


22 APRIL 2020


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