Halloween celebrations were a big thing at the place where I work. Teams huddled to discuss their “theme” and how they would capture the coveted prizes that are awarded for these events. Although there were suggestions such as “Disney Princesses” (yes, there are men on my team), “Where’s Waldo” (my personal favourite, since our team leader is a shoe-in for Waldo), and “A Crate of Apples” (??!!!??), the theme that won the vote was “The Walking Dead.”
Zombies are apparently a big thing. People trying to escape from zombies (real or imagined) is a serious preoccupation.
Thankfully, there are real people in The Walking Dead TV show, (even one who, according to everyone on my team, looks like me), so I didn’t have to do anything but make a dangerous looking knife from cardboard and buy a pair of cargo pants, in order to be a great team-player.
But it did get me thinking about the “rising from the dead” phenomenon. Rising from the dead with a beat up and bloodied body, forever obsessed with killing others is not the kind of rising from the dead that I hope to do.
In the Autumn season of dying, the Spring season of rising can seem far, far away. How can we be attentive to the dying that is taking place both in and around us, without forgetting about the promise to come?
In the musical realm, the requiem mass has provided an outlet for the complex emotions that accompany the reality of death and the hope of resurrection. This week’s selections explore the widest possible range of fierceness and tenderness, reflecting the reality of our very human struggle with death and dying.
The word requiem means rest. Last week I offered a scripture passage in which Jesus invites us to rest in him. Rest in the assurance of his love. Rest in the hope of his resurrection. May this music invite you to do both.
Robert Shaw conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Simon Rattle conducting the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Chorus and Youth Choir
If you are looking for other selections, I also recommend the Requiems of Mozart, Durufle and Brahms.