Our Goal is the Resurrection
Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning;
exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast. (Introit for the 4th Sunday of Lent)
Our Goal is Almost in Sight
Why rejoice in the middle of Lent? Isn’t Lent a solemn and penitential season? And haven’t we banned Allelu . . . um, I mean the “A Word” until the Easter Vigil? What’s up with Laetare Sunday?
Good question. Yesterday’s mass opened with the introit at the top of the post, which comes from Isaiah 66:10. The first word of the introit in Latin is laetare, “rejoice,” for which reason we have long called the fourth Sunday Laetare Sunday. On this particular Sunday a priest may wear rose colored vestments (which can look suspiciously like pink to those who are not in the know). It does seem out of place in the middle of Lent.
The primary reason for the (admittedly, subdued) theme of rejoicing on the fourth Sunday of Lent is as a reminder of where we’re heading. We have just passed the midpoint of the penitential season. The Church is reminding us that our goal, the joy of the Resurrection at Easter, is almost in sight. Don’t lose hope!
A Distant Glimpse of Heaven
As always, we can find other levels of meaning. We can look at Lent, for instance, as representing our time of exile in this world. Here we “dwell in the world, yet are not of the world,” as the Letter to Diognetus puts it. The joy-tinged reminder of our goal that we encounter on Laetare Sunday is like the promise of Hope that we find in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The flash of rose against somber purple is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). It’s a distant glimpse of Heaven amidst the gloom of our fallen world.
I chose today’s musical selection with that idea In mind. This is a little unlike my usual music posts. Ok, it’s a lot unlike my usual music posts. A gospel song with banjo, guitars, and mandolin is a clear contrast to the usual classical pieces. Kind of like the difference between bright rose pink and dark purple. In any case, I like the evocative way this song expresses our longing for Resurrection and for the Presence of Jesus as we experience the darkness that surrounds us in this life. Not only that, it really rocks.
Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down
This performance is from the Southern Gospel Revival Series. Jamie Wilson sings lead and plays the banjo. Courtney Patton, Drew Kennedy, Ben Hester, Marty Durlam, and Jesse Fox are the backing musicians.
[feature image at top of post from pixabay.com]