Habit or ritual?
Good Friday is the day when I go to church. Not, as when I was young, to the three-hour service, but for some other reason which is not always clear to me.
I do not have to go inside for very long, but I do like to make the effort and sit in a pew for some moments and be quiet and think.
I have had to put up with some scepticism about this little quirk, especially as I am not a professing Christian any more! Whatever. I have visited a church wherever I am on this day and I did the same thing today.
I do not go very far out of my way to accomplish this little visit and today I went to the church in the entre of Castelldefels.
Our church is odd in that the main body of the church has no windows. Where the windows should be there are instead massive paintings of scenes from the Life of Christ. They are something of an artistic feature of the town and are well worth a view.
I went into the church after an interesting lunch in a new restaurant (see Toni’s blog: http://catalunyaplacetoeat.blogspot.com.es ) – finding a place was not easy given that today is a Bank Holiday. One of our favourite places to eat is in a hotel restaurant – which was closed for the Easter holidays, a situation which by its sheer illogicality seemed odd to say the least, but we have given up expecting logic to dictate actions in this part of the world!
The body of the church was empty, with a few women in the side chapel. In the gloom of the church the one thing that stood out was the high altar. That had been stripped back to show some icon-like paintings on the side, but it was what was on the top which shocked me.
Across the length of the altar was a gleamingly realistic loincloth-wearing cadaver whose injured head was resting on a pillow. It was horrific and frankly repulsive. I know that you could make the point that what happened to Jesus was repulsive and we should not prettify his death, but there was something grotesquely unpleasant about such a realistically flamboyant display of death.
I found it impossible to concentrate and the experience was anything other than conducive to meditation. A thoroughly unpleasant experience!
And I feel cheated of my annual indulgence.
My poem based on this experience may be seen at: http://smrnewpoems.blogspot.com.es/ as part of my sequence of poems, Poems in Holy Week.