the silence of Holy Saturday

 

 

There are times when everything seems so quiet. The kind of quiet that you notice. No music, no buzz of the computer, no sound of airplanes overhead – the kind of quiet that can feel unsettling. We are so accustomed to noise that we live much of our lives oblivious to how it surrounds us. Only when some of this noise is removed do we notice a difference.

And then there is the quiet Holy Saturday. The quiet that has nothing to do with noise around us. This day is about silence. The absence of a certain noise; the beating of a heart, the sound of the breath – an absence that suspends time. On this day everything is longed for. There is no surprise to the silence but instead a keen recognition of all that is missing.

Like the gray noise of the TV station off the air, we know we are in between. Between what has been and what is to come.

For many this Saturday is a time for preparation. Like being called on to stay alert and ready, we bustle about knowing that the sun will rise on Sunday to a new understanding. A grand announcement – that death was not the end, that life once again fills the air. Yet no matter how busy one seems preparing for the next sunrise… the fact remains, this day – this Saturday’s silence creates a void that cannot be filled.

Holy Saturday is a hard day. Holy Saturday is an important day. In the absence of a beating heart, our own hearts move in time. Not our time but God’s time. This day cannot be rushed.

It can only be lived.

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Before daybreak

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We listened as did his disciples. He tried to prepare us for the events to come. We experienced the emotional spin of a final meal, a betrayal and anxious hours of waiting.   

These minutes seem like years. We walk the dusty road in dis-belief. No sun light, only a sky filled with clouds of anger and heavy hearts. When ‘it is finished’ all is silent.

We hear this deafening silence. All that promised a New Way recedes into a hollowed stone – the grave of our hope sacrificed. 

Alone- we stand together. The ashes lay before us. There is no stirring of a Phoenix, no thought of what is to come.

Unlike those nearest Jesus, we know that tomorrow’s sunrise will bring life anew. Yet it is important to stay present to this ‘time in between’. For only on this day can we ask – what impact does tomorrow’s daybreak have on our own faith and witness? 

May your reflections bring strength on this Holy Saturday. 

The Time-in-Between

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‘Hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destiny.’
(C.S. Lewis)

On this early morning of Holy Saturday, I consider the disciples scattered in shock and fear. That group of followers – friends – who hung in the balance. What they had believed in and hoped for was shattered as their great teacher and Lord lay dead in a tomb. What they would come to believe and give their own lives for had not yet been revealed.
Hanging in the balance, these ordinary people were preparing for extraordinary destinies.

my prayer for today…

In these hours of piercing silence, may we remember people who have no voice, no peace, no safe place to make their home.
In this time of vigil, may we offer prayer and compassion for people who always live in time-in-between, never knowing what the next day will bring.
My prayers are offered for all saddened by loss and fearful of the unknown.
It is difficult to spend these hushed hours with little light and no song of joy, may my heart be filled with awe for people who live this way, always.
In this time of waiting, I pray for a sunrise bright with light and hope for all who live in darkness.

Easter is coming!

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How long have we waited? 40 days, 40 years… the importance of this wait begins to fade. Distracted – we lean toward the lures of this world. Then in our exhaustion we remember – there is more to living than fear of danger, the hoarding of possessions and isolation.

In the still quiet of Holy Saturday surrounded by darkness, we gather. With the host of all who came before us, we await the coming of light and life. Through the practice of a liturgy passed to us from the early moments of our faith, we gather because we know the importance of waiting. We know that waiting does not mean passive living. No, our wait is filled with acts of mercy and compassionate work.

In the dark we join together because we know there is more and our hearts long for renewal. In the songs of Alleluia we remember – Easter is coming.

Easter is coming! (a video to be shared)