Terry Fitzpatrick Homilist GOOD FRIDAY April 6, 2012
Yesterday we buried Scott McKenzie, Barbara’s husband and close friend to St Mary’s. Barbara suggested that we begin the Liturgy of farewell with some words from Michael Morwood reminding us of our deep connection to the Universe.
At the beginning of the Liturgy we lit a candle to remind us of our great birth at the beginning of time – that great explosion of light we call the big bang, from which we gradually emerged over billions of years.
With Scott’s body in the coffin before us all, I read:
“Do you know?
That every atom in my body
Here before you,
Was manufactured in a massive explosion
In a star
Billions of years ago?
What a thought to contemplate any time. The miracle, that there is even life on this planet, and the absolute minute chance, of this ever happening. Carbon, the essential element to form life formed in the heart of a dying supernova, a dying star in temperatures of up to 10 billion degrees Celsius.
That so much energy was required for this remarkable element to be formed, and the only element in the universe capable of folding back on itself so that life could even contemplate its existence. Here we glimpse the death, rebirth motif for the first time, that motif that gets repeated time and time again in this remarkable universe.
Jesus refers to this motif prior to his death in John’s Gospel when he refers to the grain of wheat that must die in order to yield a rich harvest.
He is inviting us to ‘not a physical death’, but the death of the ego-centred self, the small self. That small self, which we see dethroned in the initiation rites of many indigenous peoples, that self which can be a threat to the survival of a tribe reliant on its deep connection and understanding to the earth.
Important in these rituals, to remind the initiate, that there is something more than themselves, if they and the tribe are to survive. A deep reliance on a something mysterious beyond them, and the elders who have gone before them – a reliance on the collective communal self.
A living for the Common Good.
John has made from the Symbols we have journeyed with over Lent into a Tomb from whence the light of the world emerges at Easter.
On this Good Friday we have placed before us the Central Symbol of Christianity, the Cross, to be a reminder not so much of Jesus’ death, but a reminder to the death we must undertake every day.
A death to the separate self. And it is from this death that is the waking up St Paul speaks of over and over. “Wake up sleeper;” – asleep to the knowledge that I am really part of the great I AM. I am not separate.
Paul continues “Rise from the dead”, because you are really dead if you believe that this material world and your form are all there is. Let the Christ enlighten you. Let the deep knowing that you are part of the great universal consciousness that gave birth to those first atoms and the birth of the universe.
Immersed in this you become enlightened, folded in light. You have come into the light. The Lenten journey has brought you to this – the stripping back of all the inessentials to be embraced by that universal Light, who you truly are.
If you wish, there is now an opportunity to come forward to venerate and acknowledge the Cross, and the need for the death and moving into the tomb with the separate self so necessary in order to merge with the Light, and with St Paul to say “It is no longer I that live, but Christ (universal consciousness), now lives in me.