Chant in Holy Week: Audible Mystery, Pain, and Love
Countless stories surround the origin and the history of hot cross buns. Suffice it to say they are eaten as a simple little sweet during Lent after weeks of abstinence and looking towards the crucifixion. It is our tradition to serve them here at the Community of Jesus every Good Friday.
There is one little saying about them that I particularly like. It is said that a bun baked on Good Friday and hung in one’s kitchen will guarantee the success of all baked goods prepared in that kitchen. Worth a try?
HOT CROSS BUNS
3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees Fahrenheit)
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
3 Tablespoons softened butter
1 Tablespoon instant powdered milk
1 egg white
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dried currants
3/4 cup citron
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg yolk
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons milk
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water and let stand 10 minutes in mixer until foamy. Add softened butter, instant powdered milk, egg, egg white. Mix well with dough hook. Add salt and flour only adding enough flour until dough is slightly sticky. Add citron and currants and cinnamon. Continue to add rest of flour until the dough is soft and smooth and not too sticky to handle. You may not need all of your flour. Mix on slow for another 5 minutes – this will knead the dough. Let rise in mixer bowl until double in size. Punch down on floured surface, cover, and let rest 10 minutes.
Shape into 12 balls and place in a greased 9 x 12 inch pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double, about 35-40 minutes.
Mix egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water. Brush on balls.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 20 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and cool on wire rack.
To make crosses: mix together confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and milk. Brush an X on each cooled bun.
By Sr Nun Other
Throughout the year, we sing the Liturgy of the Hours in Latin. For me, this ancient language is at its most powerful during Lent. Words such as laceravit (tear to pieces) followed by percussit et curabit nos (bind our wounds) are like vivid paint on canvas or a single, stark musical note breaking silence. When I allow the unfamiliar into my life and welcome its difference, I grow in compassion and enlarge my capacity to love.
By Melodious Monk
As part of the memorial acclamation each morning at Eucharist, all the congregants say aloud together, “we await your coming in Glory.” Think about this phrase for a minute. If you were always keeping in mind that Jesus may come again today, wouldn’t you live the rest of this day differently? I know I certainly would.
From what I’ve read and been taught about the first disciples, they believed Jesus would be coming back very soon, probably in their lifetime. Two Millennia later, I usually assume Jesus won’t be coming back to earth during my life. I figure it’s already been a long wait, so what’s another mere 60-70 years in God’s eyes. But what if he does come soon? How would I change my day if I might meet my Savior this afternoon or perhaps tomorrow morning at breakfast?
It gives me reason to approach my day with more of a sense of purpose. I want to ask God questions like, “what do you want from me today, right now?” There’s a relief in trying to live this way, with giving up a sense of control. It’s a way to stay safe in the arms of someone who knew my life’s path even before I started living it.
A Beautiful Departure
We are still picking kale and digging up parsnips in our garden, and both are tasting so so good. From the garden straight to the stove….how much fresher could you ask for your vegetables to be, and what could taste better with these wonderful vegetables than a nice plump whole roasted chicken smothered with herbs and filled with your favorite stuffing? It seems we can never have this too often at the convent.
Most people seem to be sold on roasted vegetables these days and they are great. But to me the magic key to making them better than ever, is to roast them together with the meat or poultry with which they are being served.
Season a whole chicken with onion salt and pepper and herbs. Place in roasting pan large enough to hold vegetables as well. Surround the bird with equal amounts of parsnips, carrots, potatoes and onions. Roast uncovered at moderate temp 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until juices begin to appear - stirring from time to time. Add chicken broth, water, or a splash of wine as needed making sure that every bit of flavor, fat and juice is being absorbed by scraping and stirring. Remove bird to a smaller pan to finish cooking, once the vegetables have reached the softness you desire.
One of the oldest members of our community died this past week, her name was Marny. A monastic tradition that we hold at the Community of Jesus is the observance of a prayer vigil when one of our members dies. After the wake, the coffin is brought to the church where it remains until the funeral service the following day. As we hold vigil with the body, we pray for the soul of the faithful departed, that they may be granted eternal rest in their heavenly home. We take turns through the night to pray for our friend until she is laid in the ground at her final earthly rest.
While praying for Marny I was asking myself, isn’t this watch care over each others’ souls something we should do for each other every day? Its not just the faithful departed that need our constant prayer, but those we live and work with each day. Jesus teaches us this in his commandment — you shall love your neighbor as yourself. If I want my friends in Christ to help me when I can’t see what might be a stumbling block in my life, I’d better do my best to pray and help them as best I can, for surely I’ll need the return favor! Vigilantly caring for each other is the best sacrifice we can make for one another, and a way to love Christ in each other. It’s this unified body of Christ that allows us to show love, and it’s this love that allows us to catch hopeful glimpses of Christ’s eternal kingdom which is to come.
By Renaissance Girl
—Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Life