“I let it fall, my heart
And as it fell, you rose to claim it
It was dark and I was over
Until you kissed my lips and you saved me” Adele
Last Good Friday, I spent a few hours perfecting a visual and musical reflection on Jesus Christ. I tend to be verbal, articulating my thoughts into words. Still, I found the project worthwhile. It made me weep, smile, and think. It was also an experience I could share with my daughter, discussing the different images with her. To this day, she associates Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” with Jesus.
So just what did I mean? I’ve had many a student put together a PowerPoint or music video to articulate her/his thoughts on a book and my attempt was no different. In creating this video, I intended to produce a reflection of key images and themes related to my understanding and connection to Good Friday. Lent has always been an important liturgical season for me; it resonates deeply with my life experience and my spiritual life. I’m well aware of the brokenness of my connection to the church; I have been in self-imposed exile from ministry since the second trimester of my pregnancy. I still attend Mass and nurture my prayer life. I still seek Jesus.
Who is Jesus to me? He is a man of open and magnanimous heart. He is a beloved first and only child to his mother. He is the forgiveness of a loving father to his prodigal son(s).
Jesus is a lover of people and equalizer of society. He reached out to women, already second class citizens in a patriarchal society, especially those who were outcasts: the woman at the well, the woman with the hemorrhage, the adulteress who was going to be killed. He preached truth and hope to everyone.
In recent history, I have recognized Jesus in the activism for a more equitable society. Our world of failing economies and political battles is in need of a Good Shepherd, a wise rabbi, a teacher of the people.
And who is Jesus if not his Passion? In the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary, the Stations of the Cross, countless stained glass windows and paintings, we experience the moments of Jesus’s suffering and death. Jesus is a political prisoner, tortured and stripped of human rights. He weeps in pain yet carries the cross with dignity. We are called to be the angel in Gethsemane, Veronica, Simon the Cyrenian, Joseph the Arimathean, Mary. We are called to love him.
As for the song chosen, I’m sure many feel that a secular song is inadequate or even inappropriate. However, in revisiting the lyrics, I hear of the love between Jesus and humanity, of his sacrifice and pain, of the end of the relationship on Good Friday. But I also hear of a love that inspired and challenged. That first stanza may as well be me talking about Jesus.
And so I wait for Easter.