Chrysalis, Crater and Crypt, part II

If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

In 1992, after the breakup of Yugoslavia, long-standing religious and ethnic tensions erupted into violent, armed conflict.  For 44 months, from April 1992 until December 1995, war ravaged the region.  Over 100,000 people were killed and 2 million were displaced; it w

If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

In 1992, after the breakup of Yugoslavia, long-standing religious and ethnic tensions erupted into violent, armed conflict.  For 44 months, from April 1992 until December 1995, war ravaged the region.  Over 100,000 people were killed and 2 million were displaced; it was the most devastating loss of life in Europe since World War II.  The world was mute too long in the response.

Sarajevo, a beautiful city rich with theatre, art, and music, became Europe’s “capital of hell.”  On 27 May 1992, as a long queue of hungry families waited outside the city’s last functional bakery for bread, a mortar shell killed 22 of them. Verdan Smailovic, the then 37 year-old principal cellist of the Sarajevo Opera, witnessed the tragedy from the window of his home.  These were friends, patrons, and people he knew; they were people.  The crater in the ground mirrored the one in his heart.

The next day, at approximately the same time as the tragedy, in his full evening performance attire, Verdan took his cello to the crater.  At risk of falling to sniper fire, he played.  He did so for 22 days, one performance for each of the victims.  He offered them as a “daily musical prayer for peace.”  He would continue to offer his gift in bombed out schools and bomb shelters; he often played a funerals at significant risk of a snipers bullet.  He says that “the people were hungry, but still had soul.”  He was able to escape the city in late 1993 and lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Chrysalis, Crater and Crypt, part II

Verdan Smailovic playing in bombed National Library

On Thursday, 5 April 2012, 20 years after the violence broke out, Verdan returned to Sarajevo to play again at a concert for foreign journalists who covered the war at their own peril.  At the Hotel Holiday Inn, with members of the Sarajevo String Quartet who also played during the war, they debuted a piece titled “Remembrance” that been written specifically for the painful anniversary.

The reunion and remembrance, coincidentally, was Maundy Thursday this year.  In the Christian liturgy, this night of Holy Week moves us into the days of Awe and Mystery as we journey through Good Friday to Easter.  On Maundy Thursday, we remember that Jesus washed his disciples feet and we share a meal of bread and cup.

_________________________

To again turn our attention to Luke 24:36-48, the disciples are still in shock from the events of what we call “Good Friday.”  There was nothing “good” about it for them.  In the immediately preceding stories, a group of women went to the tomb to finish preparing Jesus’ body for burial; they go to be custodians of the crucifixion, to clean up after the horrific events.  They do not find a body there, but “two men in dazzling clothes” tell them that Jesus has risen.  When the tell the male disciples, they think it an “idle tale, and they did not believe them.”  Peter runs to look, and is “amazed.”  But amazed about what?  As yet, he still does not believe that Jesus has risen.

Later that evening, two return, undoubtedly out of breath from a seven-mile run from Emmaus to Jerusalem.  During their walk in the other direction, Jesus joins them; but they do not recognize him.  Jesus gives them a biblical history lesson, but it is not until they share a meal that their eyes are open. In the breaking of bread, their hearts are quickened.  Jesus disappears and they run back to tell the disciples.

“While they were talking about this,”  Jesus appears, finally, to the disciples en masse.  Despite the reports of the women and the Emmaus sprinters, they think they are seeing a ghost.  At this point, for them, the ARE seeing a ghost—a phantom presence.  They do not yet see; they do not yet know resurrection.

It is curious to me that Jesus directs them, as a means of comfort and instruction (perhaps), to the very place that they do not want acknowledge:  ”look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself.”  Most of them, nearly all the men, fled the scene of the arrest, trial and crucifixion.  They have been on the lam and hiding from the authorities.  They are simply trying to stay alive and make sense of their experience.

In fact, Jesus directs them right back to the crater in order to show them how to make music, even in the horror…to be continued.

Read more http://whereheartandmindmeet.ccuccatl.com/2012/05/10/chrysalis-crater-and-crypt-part-ii/

Recent Posts
Contact Us

We're not around right now, but you can send us an email and we'll be in touch soon.

Not readable? Change text.