Saturday, April 7, 2012

Waiting for the Dawn


Midnight of Holy Sat Eve approaches and the beginning of a new day. I was planning on joining the Old Catholic Church's Easter Vigil Service in their lovely, small, Gothic cathedral on Petrin Hill. But for some reason - after a day of fasting and prayer - I find myself still at home awaiting the Risen Christ. Friends of mine just called inviting me to a local gay club (for young people), which used to be named Valentino's, but is now called "On Club." These are my closest gay friends in the city and one of them is studying for the ministry in the Church of the Czech Brethern, the old Hussite church that originated with reformer and martyr Jan Hus.  800 years later and we are still awaiting the reformation Jan Hus called for and died for. Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus Come! 

Catholic Bishops in the US wage a frighteningly ferocious war against gay and women's rights, to the point where some moral theologians describe them as 'moral heretics in schism,' while Cardinal Schonborn of Vienna re-instates an openly gay man (living in a legally recognized civil partnership) to a position on the parish council, from which he had been dismissed by the parish priest. Signs of new life and renewal set over against the dying spasms of a moribund and defunct clerical system. The Cardinal's gesture is gentle, spirit filled, humble and unassuming - with the simplest and most modest of explanatory statements. The US Bishops' attack is vicious, determined, and filled with all the fury and rage of moral obtuseness and blind, intolerant self-righteousness. In other words, the fury of the ego shoring up its defenses. Which of these 'demonstrations' witnesses to the life giving grace of the Resurrected Christ? The Cardinal's gesture - which is being minutely analyzed at the present moment - testifies to the fact that the Spirit of the Crucified and Risen Master, is eternally present among us, revealing itself in surprising and gentle ways. However, this Spirit of Peace and Reconciliation is also continually under attack from 'the enemy within,' those elements in the church which would seek to highjack the gospels in the service of tribal religion, human ego and intolerance. In other words, the grand drama of Gethsemane and Golgotha plays itself out within the very heart of the church itself. 

But back to On Club. Should I be going here instead of to Church, is this a suitable celebration to welcome the Risen Christ, and shouldn't my young minister friend be in church as well. I'm told that male porn stars will be dancing at the club tonight - which interests me not a whit. It's not that I'm impervious to male erotica, even on Holy Saturday Eve. It's just that 'male porn stars' usually means a collection of sad individuals who have abused their bodies and are well past their prime. Painful to observe.  And yet interiorly, I feel the call of the Risen Christ to join my gay friends at the leading gay disco of the city to welcome in Easter Morn, porn stars notwithstanding. It is a penumbra, a conundrum, a paradox and an anomaly - yet for me the Risen Christ should be found among the 'outcasts and sinners,' the porn stars and transvestites, the hungry and the needy, the discarded detritus of the world. Of course, I'm romanticizing and melodramatizing here. Most of the 'kids' in this place are simply there to have a good time, maybe pick up tricks, drink and be merry among their own kind. Hardly the detritus of the world. And the On Club is considered very trendy at the moment, so there will be plenty of straight couples there as well. Not a conventional place to welcome the dawn, but not such a seedy place either - but then I won't be welcoming the dawn at On Club - I could leave around 4am and make my way to Petrin Hill for the Easter Morning Sunrise Service, calling in the grace of Resurrection upon the world, the Church and this holy mother city, mother of sorrows, mother of sadness, and mother of all cities, Praha.

3:18 AM Just back from On Club - staying up to attend the morning sunrise Easter service on Petrin Hill. Happy to report that the 'porn star show' at On Club was simply a number of very beefy overly muscular men in underwear rippling their muscles and strutting about. Rather boring. And a string of skinny 18 year olds with their shirts off - having whipped cream sprayed on their torsos  which was then licked off them by a number of other skinny young boys and girls. That ended with everybody dancing on the bar and the bartender spraying fire at them all. Then everyone cavorted frenetically on the dance floor. Great fun and quite tasteful for a Holy Saturday Eve.

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