Yesterday evening as the sun was setting I was standing at the corner of Broadway and Ferry with my video camera in hand. I have been working on a film about non-pervious surfaces and rainwater catchment systems. Like the Inuits who have many different words for "snow" or the English that have words to describe the rain such as "The Gloaming" I am developing a vocab, an artful series of puddles in motion. Puddle art is a child's domain , similar to entymology or ornithology. We become experts on our walks to school, a common occurance of opening to the divine within the ordinary journey. Its a great time of the year to capture the rains and the puddles they make on film. Last night's sunset completed my puddle cataloguing, it was the fiery sun setting and reflecting its flames within the puddle.
Between shots of filming cars driving through the medapuddle, I realized that the Sacred Heart Thrift store warehouse had been broken into, the cinderblock wall smashed through . I called Father Michael on his secret FatherPhone and he came to meet me and walk to see the condition of the warehouse. He walked in denims and met me at the corner as i waited and we investigated. . . .
We fixed the situation temporarily, and have a long term remidy in mind. We started to walk home and I asked him what he had been doing. He said that he had been building the pyre pieces for the Easter Morning Vigil. As a great farmer poet priest, when he talks about fire the same light comes to his eyes as when he talks about his mother, the land that made her and the turf from the land that fueled their fire and their stories for centuries, the smell of the kitchen, and the liberation of the BOGSIDE that he dug when his hair was rust. He said that not everybody knows how to build a fire that lights high and quickly, then dies back in the same eruption. Its true, most people don't know how to sculpt their kindling in such a manner. He went toward the rectory as I went to my house i called out "well, I'll see you in the tomb." he giggled with his hand up to his face.
In the tomb (at 4:30 this morning) sat in the darkness, damp and cold waited with death, while trying to not let the bells ring in our hands. The angel (Father Michael) struck the match and lit the wizard's hibachi that danced up to the ceiling of the tomb. Each of us lights our candle from this fire. IN the new testament account they thought the angel was a gardener. Do not be afraid.
I sat excitedly for one of my favorite prayers of the year, the Blessing of the holy Baptismal water on Easter. The Paschal (passover) candle is lit from the wizard's fire and is dipped inside the basin of water three times. Fire in my puddle. The lit candle drips wax into the water, and it transubstantiates into holy water. . We baptized my friend Bill this morning. I could see his face very clearly, like a boy after his first kiss. The water was poured all over his face, and his head with his eyes, blinking like a swallowing frog, the wedding feast of linens, flowers, and candles, and the radical jubilee of the ram's horn and
. . . shofar so good
Our priestess Josephine then summonded us to be lights unto the world, and ring our bells. We started ringing our bells, and then the fire alarm went off, ringing in unison. We cheered. And i imagined the baptismal water extinguishing the fire with one drop. We followed the swinging Censors out of the tomb into the inception of the day and walked in our triangle to the east, ringing our bells for all the world to hear. The ringing of the fire alarm brought two large firetrucks and their bells, and a dozen of Camden's finest to our easter morning vigil, like the second apostles brought to the tomb by the faithful women. I forgot my bell this morning so i just shook my keys instead. The Censor swung their incense, and i can remember wanting them to hit me in the head with the fire filled iron containers. I wanted them to hit my head the same way pentacostal pastors hit your head to slay you in the spirit. I wanted to be slain in incense, scent baptized by immersion. i want a life size censor that i can jump onto and hold tightly to the chain like a tire swing, a redulance of round the worlds. Fire needs oxygen to grow. Iron (Fe) and water (H20) mix to make ferric oxide---4Fe + 3O2 = 2Fe2O3 commonly known as rust.
It is this fiery iron spinning in the center of the earth that brings us our magnetic poles and our seasons. Within this earth, Christ rose again today, this earth of water and fiery iron. Two years ago on the vernal equinox I sat with my closest friends along the Delaware River. We built a fire out of driftwood and watched as the waning waves came and carried the floating driftwood fire that burned brightly far far far down the 80-some miles to sea.