For this Maundy Thursday, the following is a meditation on communion and Good Friday written by my friend Jeremy Bear. It’s a bit different from this blog’s usual content, but sometimes a little shake-up is a good thing.
A Good Friday Lament
by Jeremy Bear
Between the second and third metatarsal bones, through the extensor digitorum brevis, that’s where the nail goes in. That’s the foot.
Hold the image in your mind; freeze; lock. There’s a copper tang in the air that clings to your sinuses and the roof of your mouth. Don’t stifle it; taste it. That’s blood.
The cedar grinds into his back, a wet riprap of lacerations. With each breath and writhe, his wounds slip and separate, opening and closing like mouths, like real-time runes, divinations of disaster. You’ll want to recoil, but resist. Find his lesions with your fingertips, trace the ridges. Push into them, past dermis, fat and muscle. In this way, enter into the presence of the king.
And the teeth, his teeth, bared full, his face pulled into a gurgling grimace. The left mandibular incisor: pluck it out. Hold it to the light. Then another. Another. Take them all.
This, here, now is the anatomy of the glorified christ, time blasted and still framed. Raised up on a cross, our vitruvian ideal, punctured for you, for me, for whoever, whatever.
Tangle his nerves with yours. His bones, organs, muscles, sinews and fluids: organize and catalog them. Arrange them in a queue of holy biology.
Liver. Lung. Sweetbread. Heart. Tear and gorge on pancreas and choke on kidney. In full defiance of your own sensibilities and common decency, nourish on his proteins; translate his calories into your own.
“This is my body, broken.”
Blood, yes, of course blood. But also sweat. Mucus. Lymph and acid. Bile and water. A black cocktail of the worst kind; fight past the gag and get it down.
“This is my blood, poured out.”
And on this unholy day, it’s finished: he in you.
He in you.
Here are nails. Here are swords. Here are unjust trials and obstinate throngs. Here are betrayals and spined crowns and a lash for scourging. Here is vinegar.
Here are bread and wine.