Today he who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon the tree.
Christ is dead, and we have mourned him. This is the moment of suspension. It is what Balthasar calls the ‘hiatus,’ the pause, the moment where the ‘logic of theology’ is overturned and must be re-evaluated.
It is hard for me to feel a hiatus. My professional world doesn’t stop, especially when it’s a secular discipline I’m in. I’m actually at a conference, out of town. A few friends and I snuck out for some of the Latin services at the nearby church (unfortunately, the Orthodox temple is not near the conference hotel, and the Greek Catholic one is even further), after which I explain to them that what we have in the Kyivan church is so much more extravagant – the Passion Gospels, Jerusalem Matins, and I haven’t even gotten to Pascha.
I don’t feel bad about this in a God’s Not Dead sort of way. My academic disciplines may be secular, but they aren’t antagonistic. Usually, when these conferences coincide with Great and Holy Week, it’s because someone planning it didn’t know, and some of us find each other at church smiling at each other.
But in such a situation, even though my church does such a great job of dramatizing the hiatus – Jerusalem Matins is literally a funeral for Jesus with a shroud processed around the temple standing in for the body of the Lord – there is an axis of the secular that also runs through my life, and I suspect this is true for most people who work in the saeculum. The hiatus has happened; whether we have the headspace to be aware of it is an entirely different matter.
To be aware of the hiatus is to interrupt my very full headspace. It is to sneak out of the conference. It is to eat the liturgical crumbs aware of a fuller feast that others who are at home can enjoy.
I do not begrudge my sisters and brothers the ability to attend the lavish services of the Passion Gospels yesterday and Jerusalem Matins today. If anything, this year, this is what is teaching me what it means to be church – that I am part of the people of G-d, and the movement that I hear of the Spirit touching them through the Kyivan services moves me when I hear about it too. I find myself singing ‘Today he who hung the earth upon the waters’ now in my hotel room. I am even moved to write this blog post.
In so doing, perhaps I am stopping too. Today he who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon the tree.