Today we begin the pilgrimage that is Holy Week, a commemoration of events most fictional, told from the perspective of one man, Dick Grayson in his perpetual guise as Robin, the boy wonder, as he experiences the astonishing and intense activities that inevitably accompany crime fighting on the mean streets of a city such as Gotham.
We loved Batman, my younger brother and I. I caught it when it first ran, and he fell in love with it when it came to afternoon re-runs. We would watch the show, then grab our heavy coats, the kind that always came with detachable hoods, tie the hoods to our heads and run around the backyard with the coats as our capes. I was always Batman. He was always Robin. Accept when we had friends over, then Squirt, as he was affectionately known, had to be the bad guy.
Squirt made a lousy Riddler.
One of the more iconic aspects of the comic, which was blown completely out of proportion in the television show, was Robin’s use of the term, “Holy ______” in response to any given situation. In the early comics, he would only use the phrase at the most astonishing turn of events. For the campy TV series, though, writers took the phrase over the top, inserting three or four alliterations into every episode, even if they didn’t necessarily fit. “Holy _____ ” took on a life of its own.
There’s even a website for all Robin’s Holy sayings from the TV series: holysmokesbatman.com. If there’s an exhaustive list I’ve not found it, but then, I didn’t look any further than the first page of my Google search.
Today’s picture is as close as we’ll get to anything religious in tone, and it only seemed appropriate given that the Christian world is celebrating Palm Sunday today. The stained glass sits at the very back of a small stone chapel almost hidden on the campus of Indiana University, Bloomington. There are multiple stained glass pieces throughout the little chapel, which holds no actual services but provides a quiet place for meditation and cute little on-campus weddings. This one caught my attention because it has no obvious religious motif and uses a color pattern not unlike what one might find on a graphic design chart, or possibly some form of music notation. With late afternoon sunlight streaming through, the effect is quite beautiful and gives one reason to pause, consider, and perhaps even think about their place in the world.
Ultimately, Holy Week is about celebrating life and that’s exactly what we intend to do. We celebrate the obvious, the delightful, the humorous, and perhaps even the mundane, for without all the pieces coming together life would be less full. We wouldn’t recognize the exciting if it weren’t for the ordinary. Without low points, there is only a boring plain void of highs. We need a full package and Robin’s little “Holy _______” expressions are a delightful part of that package.
Holy Hallelujah, Batman.