Sunday, October 24, 2004


The Altar of Repose during the English Faire

(Note: I wrote this on Good Friday, 2004, for my personal AOL Journal. Rather than move it awkwardly to the past tense, I'm leaving it pretty much as I wrote it then. - KFB)

At midnight on April 9th, 2004, my friend Kevin and I spent half an hour reading and praying at the altar of Repose in the back of St. Michael's & All Angels Church. The Eucharist lies hidden away there for nearly 24 hours each year, from the end of Maundy Thursday mass until the beginning of the Good Friday service. Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, with its institution of Holy Communion, otherwise known as Holy Eucharist, the transformation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus. Maundy Thursday also commemorates Gethsemane, with its sleepy apostles, the sweating of blood, and the arrest of Jesus. Good Friday commemorates his death and burial.

Some of the Eucharist consecrated on Thursday is set aside for Friday, which has no Eucharistic Prayer of its own. While it's there at the Altar of Repose, parishioners and clergy keep vigil in half hour shifts, usually two at a time, all night and all day. In effect, we are waiting up with Jesus on the anniversary of the Passion, staying awake as Peter, James and John did not.

At St. Michael's, all this takes place in an area between the last pew, the ushers' table and the church's heavy wooden doors. The Altar itself is in an alcove on the right. Behind it is a painting of Jesus, attended by angels as he suffers. In front of it are two large candles, which I long to straighten--they both list to the right. To the left is a bank of votive candles, which may be burned for 25 cents each. Accommodations for the faithful include a rickety kneeler with attached rail, a couple of folding chairs, and the usual books: the Book of Common Prayer, the Eucharistic Lectionary and the Hymnal, not that we would sing through this. Some years there are laminated printouts of suggested prayers. Not this year. We're on our own.

This year at the Altar of Repose I did pretty much what I always do on this occasion. Part of it I spent in prayer, of course. This consisted mostly of a rather self-absorbed monologue in which I attempted to make a connection, intellectually and emotionally, with Jesus: who he is, why he did what he did, and what he wants now. The rest of the time I read a couple of psalms, two chapters of Acts and two of John, and the Maundy Thursday readings I'd missed in favor of a four hour class about the equity method and the purchase method of accounting for business combinations.

At the end, just before Father Smith and his daughter Annie arrived for the next half hour slot, I found myself wondering: did I get anything out of this? Am I supposed to get anything out of this? Or am I supposed to be giving something to it? If the latter, did I manage to do so?

I don't know, but I tried.

Karen Funk Blocher

Good Friday, 2004

What God Looks Like

Fifteen, and smallish for his age, with hands
As fair and delicate as are a girl's,
A look that says he doesn't understand,
Nor wants to, where the world is being hurled.
A golden ascot underneath a mane
Of golden silk (if such can be endured),
A giggle as he makes a gravy stain
On any piece of clothing so adored.
A void between his lips and in his eyes,
That sucks men down in bottommost seduction.
To look at him is called a Paradise,
To lose yourself in him severe reduction.
His name is Idic, and a thousand years
Men come to him, until he disappears.

by Kevin Harrington

Just a Little Poem to Get Things Started

the path
Travel virtually with me
Through time and space and memory
And worlds of our design.
We'll ponder reason, ethics, love,
What's below and what's above,
And what may be divine.


Welcome to the St. Michael's Arts Page

This blog is for creative endeavors by the parishioners of St. Michael & All Angels Episocopal Church in Tucson, Arizona. We're looking for poetry, essays, meditations, prayers, (very) short stories, photos and art, preferably with a religious or spiritual theme. To see your work here, email it to Karen at Regular contributors will be given access to post directly on this page. Remember, this is for the many creative people at St. Michael's, including you! So do contribute something, won't you?

Ground rules:

1. No profanity or coarse language.
2. This is a church-run blog. Your work should be compatible with this.
3. No personal attacks.
4. The pastor and webmaster reserve the right to remove inappropriate material.

Beyond that, feel free to be yourself. I look forward to seeing what we all come up with.