Posted by: Renee | April 2, 2013

Waiting on Hope, This Side of Easter

by Mary Ann Kaiser from RMNBlog

Last Friday, love was nailed to a cross and put to death. A three year journey of teaching, healing, and challenging the status quo ended. Hope seemed so far away.

Mary followed love all the way to the cross, wailing and beating her chest, only to watch love breathe its last breath. The grief on Saturday was so heavy.

Peter, a devoted follower of love, denied love three times when the cost becomes too great. When all is quiet on Saturday, he is left alone with the weight of his shame and regret.

Joseph, having wrapped love’s body in linen leaving it to rest in a tomb yesterday, would have felt the coldness of death and seeming defeat in love’s body. Surely, the disappointment of Saturday would have him wondering if he misunderstood all of Christ’s lessons. Was this how it was supposed to end?

All who followed Christ, whose lives were transformed by love and a new way of seeing the world, must have felt so lost on this day. Confusion, anger, grief, and hopelessness would accompany those who never imagined this day would come.

Most of us have had our fair share of Holy Saturdays.

Anyone who has lost someone they love to the evils of the world via hate crimes, bullying that leads to teen suicide, lack of access to health care for HIV/AIDS, or any other form of injustice knows the weight of Mary’s grief.

Anyone who has regretted their silence, their betrayal, their apathy or their commitment to protecting themselves at the detriment of another, knows the shame of this day.

Anyone who has ever felt so disappointed by life – when the thing/belief/person/vision they really believed in has let them down and all they invested in seems for naught – would know the confusion of Joseph.

Holy Saturday is the day when our hearts feel so heavy and we wonder – is love real? Where is God? How can I possibly carry on?

Those who loved Christ didn’t know what Sunday morning would bring. They were forced to deal with the pains of evil on that day. There are no platitudes, easy answers, or other ways to avoid the depth of the realities of the human struggle. They must simply grieve.

In a society where happiness is lifted up as the primary goal of life, in a religion where there is little room to grieve and mourn without skipping to the resurrection, and in a culture that hates to acknowledge its own shortcomings, this day is so important for us.

On Holy Saturday we grieved. We grieved over all the times the evils of heterosexism, sexism, racism, classism, ableism, and interpersonal conflict seemed to win. We must sit in the reality that we don’t always know what hope will look like tomorrow. We must acknowledge the guilt and shame we carry over things we should have done differently. It is only when we allow the weight of Saturday – of all our Holy Saturdays – to set in, that we can fully understand the importance and hope of Sunday.

So on your Holy Saturdays, mourn. Be angry. Sit in the difficulty and confusion. The heaviness need not overcome us, we know tomorrow is coming, but our souls need this space – not forever, but for a day.

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