Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Twentyeighth day of Lent: Hemmingway at the table

There’s a couple just in to look around. A older musician who’s been here before drops in to leave a donation. A middle aged white man just doesn’t want to believe that there’s no food here. A Mexican comes in. Has one of the street sheets that tell people where to go for what.  I tell him he’s looking for SPSA, dos bloques al oeste, al derecho de aqui. He asks if I am el sacerdote de la iglesia. I say, Si. He wants to sleep in the church. No es posible, I say. 
A little while later, Rafael comes in. There’s a Mexican guy asleep on the steps.
The one with all the bottles and cans?
No. Another guy. Younger. Think he was just in here. 
So I go out. It’s the same man. Mi hermano, no es permiso a dormirse en las escaleras de la iglesia. He looks up at me. Me siento mucho pero se necesita moverse.
He slowly gets up. Looks at me. Gathers his back pack. Moves on. Rafael looks at me, Hey pastor, su espanol,  mucho bueno..
Gracias, mi hermano.
Another inspector arrives with two associates. While we’re on the tour, I ask Chris to go upstairs and make sure everything’s squared away.
When the visitors leave, I need a break. 
Tonight’s Bible Study is different. I’ve chosen Hemmingway’s Today is Friday, a short one -act reflection on Good Friday. Three Roman soldiers drinking in a bar with a Jewish wine seller. We read it with John H and John R and Arcadia palying the roles of the soldiers and Don the wine seller. We find it's an extremely tightly written play, words carefully chosen. Perhaps each a different aspect of Hemmingway. The admirer of a macho performance on the cross, a cynic who may or may not have thought something else might just be possible, a third suffering from exisential sickness. A sense of gloom over everything. The longer we go, the more we find. Exegeting Hemmingway’s theology. Use of language, words, images. The theatre experience of Don and John H really adds to our dicussion.
Hemmingway’s only play. Written in 1926. When he was an expat in Paris. Later, as I thought about it, I could imagine Hemmingway, F Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, sitting around a table or in Stein’s living room reading this play just as we did. Good way to end the day.

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