Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Touch of Frolic

There's a brilliant article by Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon in the most recent (April) issue of Touchstone magazine, which was so good that it inspired me to write this letter to the editors, and which I call reason enough to subscribe:

Patrick Henry Reardon’s “The Son Risen with Healing” was worth the price of the entire subscription. I only wish he had spent more ink lingering on “The Forty Days of Lingering,” his last section. As far as I’m concerned, the expressions of playful cheerfulness that Fr. Reardon calls “jocose” in Jesus’ appearances to his disciples could be the theme of an entire article. “Is there not something exceeding playful, for instance, in our Lord’s incognito appearance to Mary Magdalene . . .?” Yes, most certainly, and in the Emmaus road exchange, and in the appearance to Thomas: “a delicate touch of frolic in all this, a quiet celebration among these intimates of the Victor over sin and death.” Yes, a thousand times. And we could go on with the examples. A favorite of mine is the Lord’s appearance on the shore, in which He not only plays with them as children, but even calls them children, and lightheartedly asks if they have any meat. When He fills their net with fish, the beloved disciple gleefully informs Peter that it is He, and Peter like a cavorting child jumps into the lake to swim to Him. The other disciples are left comically dragging this enormous catch behind their boat, only to find on arrival that Jesus already has a breakfast of fish prepared for them. There is here a sense of hilarious glee in this report of overwhelmingly happy news, a perspective surely meant for all Christendom to gain and to carry into the midst of all of life’s trials and challenges.

Rev. Fr. Burnell F. Eckardt Jr.

Pastor of St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Kewanee, Illinois and

Editor of Gottesdienst, a Journal of the Evangelical-Lutheran Liturgy

No comments: