Tuesday, March 22, 2005

They Eat, They Drink

Strange to note that the climax of the long saga of Terri Schiavo seems to be tracking Holy Week -- the days beginning Palm Sunday, through Holy (or Maundy) Thursday, Good Friday, to Easter, which most Christians churches observe (though, the Orthodox church, often, at a different time, because of the way they calculate Easter -- a moveable feast -- on the calendar.)

The "Schiavo Bill", passed by Congress very late on Sunday morning, has already been dubbed the "Palm Sunday Compromise" by those who, in addition to being movers and shakers, are also apparently namers. Great forces are at work, on both sides, over one woman, who, by any estimation, is absolutely helpless before them; mute; without a remedy, herself, in a land overflowing with remedies; with nothing to eat and nothing to drink in a land of plenty.

For Christians marking it, Holy Week is a doleful time. In a sense, as the week progresses, it becomes increasingly foreboding and desparate -- suggestions of treachery and of death coming. There is a revealing, final meal -- then, nothing more is consumed. Instead, comes anguish, betrayal, lack of due process -- if you will -- torture, infamy, and suffering. Through this, the victim is largely, strangely mute and yielding. At the point of death, he says, "I thirst."

Your humble Contributor -- whose spiritual resume reads like a postal employee with a drinking problem, many personal grudges, and a penchant for firearms -- nonetheless holds a little booklet of readings for this week. And, what is remarkable to him is not so much the theme of the Christian scriptures, but that of the Jewish scriptures.

Consider this reading for today, from Psalm 55 (in the feminine gender):
My foes are speaking evil against me.
"How long before she dies and her name be forgotten?"
They come to visit me and speak empty words,
their hearts full of malice, they spread it abroad.

My enemies whisper together against me.
They all weigh up the evil which is on me:
"Some deadly thing has fastened upon her,
She will not rise again from where she lies."
Thus even my friend, in whom I trusted,
Who ate my bread, has turned against me.
Or, this reading from Isaiah 21:
A cruel sight, revealed to me: the traitor betrays, the despoiler spoils. My mind reels, shuddering assails me; My yearning for twilight has turned into dread.

They set the table, spread out the rugs; they eat, they drink.
Maybe it means nothing. Maybe Terri Schiavo feels nothing. Maybe her hunger and thirst consume her and break her down in dread, emptiness, and desparation. And, maybe no-one will ever know.

Or, maybe, like the week, it resolves in hope, fullness, and remedy.


Blogger Gone Away said...

There are some things about America that I don't think I'll ever understand...

3/22/2005 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger Ned said...

There is really nothing to add, you have said it all.

3/23/2005 06:09:00 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

I think the more we know about humanity, and of ourselves, the more we suffer for all of our lousy shortcomings, and therein, I think, lays one intent of our Benefactor.

3/23/2005 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Remainderman said...

Well said, Harry.

3/23/2005 05:16:00 PM  
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