Monday, April 1, 2013
Alfred’s Easter Celebration
Mother and I have always enjoyed sitting in our solarium. On a mild afternoon like this it is particularly pleasant, and we had retired there for an afternoon rest with a small glass of Guffens Aux Tourettes "Syrose.” Even though I find the quiet beauty of this spot restful, this afternoon I was a little uneasy.
“Mother,” said I, “This has been a rather heady Easter Celebration,” I paused, waiting for a response, but Mother merely looked at me archly. So I continued, “I’m so glad that our Jeremy and his Winifred were able to come to our Holy Week Messiah presentation on Wednesday evening.”
Mother pursed her lips and remained silent. I know her well enough to know when a storm is brewing, and I had a feel for just what it might be. Nonetheless I continued. Sometimes a man just has to say what a man has to say.
“Mother,” said I, “Singing those words in my tenor solo made a deep impression on me. ‘Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto His sorrow. He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of Thy people was He stricken.’ Why I felt like I was being personally addressed by God my Father.”
Mother heaved big sigh and shrugged her shoulders dismissively. “Alfred, said she, “When I encouraged you to go to Church I didn’t expect you to go overboard. After all the real point is all the new friends that we have met.”
“I know, Mother, that you feel that way, I know, but I do want to tell you what has happened to me.”
Mother set her jaw and her frown deepened. Not to be deterred I continued, “Last Sunday when I offered to Father Goodfellow a case of Taylors 20 Year Old Tawny, his answer disturbed me. You might even say that I found his words rather piercing. ‘Just remember,’ he said, that this port wine of yours will convey the reality of the Blood of Christ.’”
Mother slammed the copy of the Atlantic Monthly that she was reading down on the table and stared at me.
“Well, Mother,” said I, “When I came to the communion service at our Maundy Thursday service I could hardly drink the port, excellent though it is. I was deeply unnerved. The final blow came at the very end of the service with the Solemn Stripping of the Altar. I had never seen anything quite like that. It left me devastated, and I knew that Christ had died for me.”
“Alfred!” barked Mother, looking shocked.
“That’s not all, Mother,” said I, “This morning we were singing that beautiful Palestrina hymn, ‘When the Strife is O’er, the Battle Done. When we came to the fourth verse, ‘He closed the yawning gates of hell, the bars from heaven’s high portals fell,’ I knew in my heart of hearts that he had died for me. Mother, I have surrendered my life to him.”
Mother looked at me with utter distress, “Alfred, you should talk to Jeremy and Winifred, they’re religious, they should be able to shed the light of pure reason on this.”
“I did, Mother, I did,” said I, “and do you know what Jeremy said? He said, ‘Dad! How wonderful, I have been praying for you ever since I accepted Jesus as my Saviour last fall. How wonderful!”
Mother looked at me wryly and said, “Well,” Alfred, “you’ll get over it, I’m sure.”
“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38)