This week is so different than any Holy Week we have every known. While people are troubled about not being together or in church, I feel a bit closer to the disciples than in years past. I keep thinking about them begin perplexed, listening to Jesus, thinking, “What is he on about? Why is he telling us this now?” I wonder if some of them thought, “Jesus, let’s just get back to the work of healing people.” I think of them after his death, hiding in an upper room, running away from Jerusalem, not knowing really what to do with themselves, filled with the pain of loss.
So often we skip through Holy Week, moving joyfully to Easter. We mark Good Friday, but we do not get too close to the pain because soon is will be Sunday—resurrection with new life and hope. We know the next part of the story so we don’t have to linger on Good Friday. “Thank goodness that day is over,” we think. As good church people, we use Saturday to get ready for Sunday.
Yet today I wonder if Holy Saturday is close to our experience this year. Holy Saturday for the disciples was a day of the beginning of something new—life without Jesus. Who were they without him? Grief filled their homes and hearts. How do they live now? Some of them, like the two on the road to Emmaus, wondered (ran?) off. The community was changed—how do they connect to all those who lived with Jesus, learned from him, where changed by his life?
Holy Saturday for us is filled with unknown. Headlines—“USA out of lock down by 1 May” and “Social Isolation may last for 18 months.” We are in the in-between time. Something major has happened, and we do not yet know when or how it will end. We do not know how we will be changed. We simply do not know. We have to live now, with our fears, our loss, our hopes, our connections—such as they are. We know that this isolation won’t be forever. We trust that we will be able to travel again, to see our children/grandchildren again, to visit with friends. But for the moment we are left in limbo. The questions and the uncertainty circle around us. Like the disciples, we have to wait.
In our waiting we listen for the voice of God, reminding us who God is, reminding us how God works. This week I read Borg and Crossan’s “Last Week”. In it they assert that the focus of Jesus’ ministry was justice in the face of a corrupt government system. During the week and on this Holy Saturday I am conscious that there are many people suffering, not just because of illness, but with loss of jobs, violence in their homes, mental health issues. I am wondering not just about myself, but I wonder how we, the followers of Jesus, will respond to the pain of our world. It is tempting to shout with triumph that “Christ is Risen.” I wonder though if we have to crawl into the tomb with people, wait through Holy Saturday, “holding hands” in the midst of pain, and let God lead us to resurrection, to new solutions, as we offer food, shelter, healing, and love.
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