Saturday, April 4, 2015

Holy Saturday: Dwelling in the Space Between...

Every fall in temperate regions around the world, old life dies off so that new life can emerge in the spring.  Winter is the "season in between", when all looks dead on the surface.  Sometimes when we are in the midst of a particularly harsh winter, we might despair, wondering if spring will "ever come".  This year in Maryland, the season in between seems to have lasted a long time; spring seems "behind schedule".   This is one of the latest years on record for the Cherry Blossoms  to bloom.  Our human calendar says it's spring, so of course we expect the weather to behave accordingly.

The moral of the story is that we don't set the timetable for how long the passage from death to resurrection will take.


Today is the day in our liturgical calendar when we remember when Jesus passed from death to resurrection -- when he dwelled the "space between" the Cross and the Empty Tomb.  No one is sure quite what happened on Saturday.  In fact, it's so mysterious that only one Gospel writer mentions it, and even then only in vague terms.  Nevertheless, that it happened is a core part of our faith.  Holy Saturday is a part of the story that tends to get overlooked as we rush from the cross on Good Friday to the resurrection on Easter Sunday -- but without it there would be no Easter.   We lose something important if we never take time to ponder the mystery of Holy Saturday.

In hindsight we know that Jesus' passage through death to resurrection took three days -- from Friday night to Sunday morning.  Remember, however, that the disciples don't know that yet.  Hard as it might be, try to imagine how they felt.  All of the hope they mustered these past three years has been crushed under the heel of harsh Roman rule.  Their teacher and friend has been tortured and humiliated; Pilate meant for his death to be a public reminder of what will happen to anyone who opposes the will of Caesar.  Make no mistake, when these men and women go to bed late that Friday night, Winter has come and there is no hint that Spring is only three days away...  

Low in the ground he lay, Jesus my savior.
Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord....


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