“The Passion” meets “The Lord of the Rings” this Saturday

Holy Saturday is one of my favorite moments in the church calendar, ranking with the Ascension and Epiphany, as an acquired taste as Stilton or deviled kidneys.

On that day, Christ enters death and ministers to “those who dwell in darkness.” There is no overt biblical mandate for this observance, but it fits well into the whole mythic scheme. If I don’t go to Holy Saturday services (they’re not common) I’ll stay at home and read parts of the Revelation of John and The Dream of the Rood. (There is something about late antique and early medieval works – whether they are Britanic, Roman, Cappadocian or Syriac – that speaks to me during Holy Week and afterward for Easter.)

The latter is the earliest known (religious) poem in (Old) English, and dates to 750; it tells the Passion from the Rood’s, that is, the Cross’s point of view, and assumes a Germanic heroic code. (Thus the LotR reference.) You almost expect Jesus to be a blue-faced Pict; no, wait, that was Mel’s other movie.

Regular readers know I care about the spiritual lives of inanimate objects: a wise move I think, since Jesus warned us about the rocks and stone singing and all.

Read The Dream of the Rood in modern translation for yourself. Consider sharing this with your Rivendelled teens, too.


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