Friday, May 30, 2014

"Another year and then you'd be happy"

As a very busy Easter season winds down I hope I will have some time to think, reflect, and to post more. I am happy that I've at least remained faithful to the Friday traditio. This week is no different.

Precisely because I haven't been writing very much, I have been trying to offer a little, admittedly elliptical, commentary on, or make some connections between, the chosen traditio piece and what thoughts prompted me to post it. So, this week's Καθολικός διάκονος traditio is Gerry Rafferty's song "Baker Street." I listened to it this afternoon. Released in 1978, I remember driving with my Dad and listening to it. I found it a bit haunting. But it occurred to me today that, like so many contemporary songs, it is about longing for fulfillment, at least for the characters in the song. It seems to me that for the songwriter/narrator, because longing is perceived exclusively as a this-world endeavor, we often long for things that aren't ever going to happen. In other words, the song certainly features notes of despair.

He's got this dream about buying some land
He's gonna give up the booze and the one-night stands
And then he'll settle down
In some quiet little town
And forget about everything

As we approach the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (or maybe it's passed for because you observed it on the correct day), I am always struck by the words of the angels, speaking to the apostles, as they watched in amazement as Jesus ascended before their very eyes: "Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven" (Acts 1:11). I have grown perhaps a little too fond of describing this by saying, the angels "leveled the apostles' gaze."

Eternal life, life eternal, the life that never ends... "Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life"- St Paul.

"Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present"- Ludwig Wittgenstein.

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