Friday, April 18, 2014

He descended to the Dead

Good Friday is always a day for reflection - as it (and indeed all of Holy Week) is intended to be.  If we are strong of heart, we will do that uncomfortable grappling with our own psyche, to glean scraps of wisdom for our own spiritual enlightenment.

The Great Questions are worth study.  What is it to be fully human, as we would wish to be? What is it to live a good life?  What is it to leave that good life, as we all know will some day be our fate?

Hard questions.

The older I get, the more moving I find the story of Holy Week.  Psychologically, we all experience triumph.  Psychologically, we all experience betrayal.  Watching your spirit descend to the Dead is something that I personally have experienced, in the cold, dark, silent hours.  Knowing that a Grace beyond understanding is coming is something that I've experienced more than I've deserved these last years.  That knowing is a special gift, one that has kept me moving forward.

That wasn't there for Kang Min-gyu.  He was the vice principal of the South Korean High School who set up a class trip that ended when the ferry boat ripped it's hull apart on rocks.  Hundreds of his pupils are missing, many no doubt ending their short lives in the dark and cold waters.

He was overcome with grief for his charges, and doubtless no little guilt. And so yesterday, his spirit descended to the Dead.  And when that journey was complete, he hung himself from a tree outside the school.

Today is a Holy Day, not a holiday.  Today is about Mr. Kang's journey, and our journey, and His who this day is about.  What can we learn from others that can aid us on our own journey?  It's said that the longest journey a man will ever take is the eighteen inches between his head and his heart.  Some don't survive the trip.

This reflection is hard, as must be anything truly worth while.  I hope that you - and I - make good use of this pondering.


Paul, Dammit! said...

I've been following the ferry story myself. The maritime community is and should be deeply ashamed that now we have two undeserving men who were accepted as ship's masters in recent history, both having violated the defining principle of what it is to be master after God: to be charged with the safe keeping of all souls on board.

From the Merchant Seaman's manual:

"The captain will be the last person to leave a ship alive prior to its sinking or destruction, and if unable to evacuate his crew and passengers, the captain will not abandon ship himself under any circumstances."
Pretty clear that the wrong man hung himself yesterday.

Borepatch said...

Paul, I expect that the punishment of both men will be meant in part to remind all others of their responsibilities.

Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres.

Graybeard said...

I don't know if the concept is accepted in Korea, but my first reaction to the vice principal was "seppuku".

You may recall a JAL 747 crashing into the mountains of northern Japan in 1985. The maintenance manager who accepted responsibility committed seppuku. (The president simply resigned).