Holy Week Reflections- Good Friday

We did the Stations of the Cross a little differently this year, by having various prayers and meditations on different areas of struggle and conflict in the world. How does the cross of Christ enter into these sufferings today?

Syria, Afganistan, Climate change, Species loss, Young adult unemployment, Depression, Loneliness, Grief, Hunger, Refugees, Prisoners, Jerusalem

I led the meditation on depression. My very dear youngest brother, who has always made me laugh, is a writer, a poet, and more recently a rapper. He has been struggling with depression (he gave me permission to share this), and at a very low point, started making a rap about it, which I read for my reflection on Good Friday. It is a powerful and moving piece of artistry. He also got together with a talented group of friends and made a music video for it. He’s the one in the film with a beard.

It’s called ‘Fractal’. A fractal is an eternally repeating pattern of differing intensities. They are images of Chaos.

Here are the lyrics:

We read to write,
and write our prayers inside before we sleep at night
affright with affluence alright so ask again- did I do it right?
overdue this time, for another rhyme
sputtering undercover, blind
youngster, I’ve been shuddering, in summertime
the searing consternation at their shoes upon the hard floor
if I fear a simple conversation, whats it hard for?
why is social difficult?, why is my written mythical?
why does writing come so easy, but speaking is a master sport

and I’m bad at sports!

I worked my ass off for athletics, yeh I am so proud, report
varsity in highschool
captain for my two teams,
I quit because of rapping, or for running…
– wasn’t my thing
split with this and fit with that,
hated school but wrote for rap
I should be on a paper now, aint wrote a word, now throwing down
tracks that I can’t even handle
stupid verbs up in my sandals
bands of light with sand in the soles
words you hear from a man and his soul
absurd in my head,
even worse in a verse
and I’m cursed widda fast brain tongue of slapped brain
run in the fast lane, guns at the door
can’t thun thun with the dumb dumb folk
and I’m from that yoke brought up too stoked
choked out first round,
blue tic, blood hound
hunter come to kick in the wall
see me right now or don’t see me at all
this is my call
howl in the wild
yeah imma wolf,
yeah imma child
peter pan
wendy left
me so true
lost boy, hell yes
I’d fly to the moon cus I’m
I’m dead to you
I’m dead to you
Am I dead to you?
I don’t know anymore
Think I can’t let go anymore
if it snows anymore

I can’t take this
faking like
its okay
its not alright
its not alright

we read to write
and write our prayers inside before we sleep at night
affright with affluence, alright I know I didnt do it right
we wrote our prayers inside
but all these sleepless nights consumed us
beauty drew me in. I still wait to know the truth
to glow with unrelenting joy, poised for a life of hope
nope, all I’m left with is a death wish and the hoi poloi
coy smile- my disguise
such a positive desire to do good
now twisted, unrelenting appetite
for perfection
I want to be the best
no I want to be better than everybody
where is the James I used to like?
Where did I go, I used to be so happy?
I don’t give a fuck if this don’t rhyme I stifle cries, sigh inside
write it all and for myself
too proud to tell nobody else

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2 Responses to Holy Week Reflections- Good Friday

  1. robertgreen4618 says:

    Lydia, run your head round this. I have sent it to Br. Sam, but i have an inclination that it might be too explicit a summary of his theology so am not expecting a reply! Unfortunately people still get taught like this at public schools and this is the result! (I ought to know, I went to one. Normally we enter into things by increments not in one leap!)

    Oxford Theologian Richard Swinburne [Hilfield?]:

    My suffering provides me with the opportunity to show courage and patience. It provides you with the opportunity to show sympathy and to help alleviate my suffering. And it provides society with the opportunity to choose whether or not to invest a lot of money in trying to find a cure for this or that particular kind of suffering……..Although a good God regrets our suffering, his greatest concern is surely that each of us shall show patience, sympathy and generosity and, thereby, form a holy character. Some people badly need to be ill for their own sake, and some people badly need to be ill to provide important choices for others [is this guy real?] . Only in that way can some people be encouraged to make serious choices about the sort of person they are to be. For other people, illness is not so valuable.

    My reaction:

    1). Grotesquely egocentric.

    2). Assumes thorough knowledge of ‘suffering’, no doubt theological arrogance, yet uses the word ‘sympathy’ and not, tellingly, empathy.

    3.) Provides a mandate to inflict suffering on others in the belief/lie to oneself that it is good for them or good for ‘the cause,’ an extensively documented phenomenon in religious orders in Ireland where nuns and brothers felt privileged to beat people senseless over a period of decades.

    4.) Assumes that the amelioration of suffering is within the domain of attitude: a preposterous claim!

    5.) Does nothing to identify the cause(s) of suffering, whilst adding to the suffering of others…

    What do YOU think? Still so sure of the power of prayer?! Serious suffering is seldom ennobling, but I noted that Sam said Siddhartha by Hesse was on the novice’s reading list, a truly pathetic book about an Indian old-etonian, though to Br Sam the bees-knees of lit.!???***

    As Nietzsche says:

    ‘If you look into the Abyss, then the Abyss gazes back into you. And if you fight with monsters, look to it that you don’t become a monster yourself.’

    I think Swinburne and Br ‘the cost they have to pay*’ Sam have become monsters. The question is, when are they going to rejoin the human race?


    • lmreese says:

      Hi Alex,

      My first reaction to that quote is that I’m really glad I don’t know that guy or have to have him as my priest. What an awful thing to say to someone who is struggling and suffering! Blech. Who is Swinburne? I’ve never heard of him before. Is he modern? And what is the wider context this quote is coming from? What book/essay?

      I’m not a theologian, and I’ve only barely barely dipped my toe in philosophy, but I think this problem of suffering/problem of evil is THE great challenge to faith and to God. A philosophy professor of mine said basically that this is the big question that religion doesn’t have a satisfactory answer for. I often feel overwhelmed by the suffering in the world and feel like I’m too small to do anything about it, even though of course I want to, it’s just too big a problem. The only two things that console me when I start to feel like this are that the Old Testament is full of people telling God off for not fixing brokeness and ending suffering, that I am not alone in feeling this way and that people throughout history have wrestled with very similar questions and problems. The other thing that helps me is prayer, not prayer as a magic wand that makes everything better instantly, but as a way to hand over what is troubling me to God. Sometimes the handover has a lot of anger that goes with it. In fact, most of my prayer life until recently has been about being angry and yelling at God. The ‘power of prayer,’ God directly answering prayer, rarely seems to go as I would expect or ask for at the time, and I’m often uncertain about what’s going on on that front!

      I read Siddhartha in high school, and I don’t remember it very well, but I remember being disappointed by the conclusions it comes to. I may have changed my mind now, but I wouldn’t know without reading it again. My philosophy professor gave us an interesting book to use for my course, but I can’t remember the name of it. I’ll look back at my notes and see if I can find it for you. I have no idea about Br. Sam’s views on this issue, but I suspect you are jumping to conclusions. I think that’s something you need to talk about with him.
      I think you know a lot more about the philosophy here than I do, and I can only offer you my own experience and musings, but I’m always willing to talk about anything. Hope to see you soon, Lydia

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