April 23, 2011

Holy Saturday

It is gray today, cold and wet. It seems fitting somehow.

About Good Friday, Paul Tillich writes of the way the physical world itself responds to the crucifixion. The sky darkens, the earth shakes, the temple veil is torn. He says:
Nature, with trembling, participates in the decisive event of history. The sun veils its head; the temple makes the gesture of mourning; the foundations of the earth are moved..... Nature is in an uproar because something is happening which concerns the universe.
If Friday is darkness, then Easter morning is bright and glorious. Even on those rainy Easter Sundays, there is still that sense of light, the Paschal light.

But what about Saturday? Saturday is the day between, but it certainly must have seemed the end and not the middle. Resurrection was coming but why did it wait another day? After sitting with people in the midst of profound loss, I think that maybe Saturday was like that, even for God. Great loss induces shock and numbness. It is almost impossible to act, to comprehend, to believe. Perhaps this is putting too much of a human face on God, but I think God might have been so numbed by grief and sorrow that nothing else could happen. He had lost his Son, and he had lost his children, too, by giving them the freedom to do what they wanted, even crucifixion. Of course, we do not get the last word -- thank God -- but on Saturday, maybe no one knows that yet.

So today it rains and it is cold. And I think that maybe even heaven is weeping with the tragedy of terrible death, Jesus' death and any other, too. Tomorrow there will be light and lilies and sparkling music. But today there is only the stunned disbelief, only the grief, only the loss.

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