I have a strange disposition toward all that is obscure – if it is small and unnoticed then I like it. I fantasize about finding a nobody-artist and buying a nothing-painting that some day I donate to a big museum – worth millions. I believe the small uncelebrated things in life are more important. Wisdom and beauty are in the forgotten insignificant events of life. I smile most heartfelt when I remember my daughter eating Cheerios when she was two years old… one at a time with a face of deep smug content satisfaction. My holiest moments are found in my smallest memories.
I like Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter. I like the Monday after Easter Sunday.
In the dark I lay in bed all this early morning contemplating Jesus lying in the cool jet-black tomb. He is dead. He is silent, cold and still. He is decomposing. If nothing changes he will go like the rest of us “ashes to ashes, dust to dust… from the dust of the earth we came and to the dust of the earth we shall return.”
I picture the disciples hiding. I think of how terrible they must feel – they lost. The Big Idea failed. No King, no Kingdom, no Justice over Roman oppressors, no Vindication – just the long crushing history of failure – 800 years of failure. No God.
This silent dead Holy Saturday makes me think of Holocaust survivor, Elie Weisel’s Night…
…we saw three gallows… Roll call… The SS surround us, machine guns aimed at us; the usual ritual. Three prisoners in chains–and, among them, the little pipel, the sad-eyed angel.
…The three condemned prisoners together stepped onto the chairs. In unison, the nooses were placed around their necks.
“Long live liberty!” shouted the two men.
But the boy was silent…
At the signal, the three chairs were tipped over.
…Behind me, I heard the same man asking: For God’s sake, where is God?”
And from within me, I heard a voice answer:
“Where is he? This is where–hanging here from this gallows…”
That night, the soup tasted of corpses. (p.64,5)
Where is God this Holy Saturday? This is where – rotting in the grave. Of course the Resurrection is tomorrow. Jesus rises and death is dead. The church bursts out with “Pomp and Circumstance.” America loves a good strong win. Forget the complications. Forget the conversation between the unrecognized Jesus and the two disheartened followers on the road to Emmaus Sunday afternoon. Nobody understood then. Nobody understands today. “Yes, Jesus wins but not like you expected.” Yes, Easter Sunday means death is dead, but that is not the main point of Easter. Easter is about Vindication, not simply a guarantee of eternal life. (We already had eternal ‘existence,’ right?)
Easter is all about the following Monday… and the next day, Tuesday, and the following day and the day after that. Easter is all about Time – a new Time of Jesus’ newly inaugurated Age of living differently. “Yes, the Kingdom of heaven is near you, it is here in your midst – but not how you thought.”
Simon (he’s not Peter, The Rock, anymore) – Simon goes back to his fishing business. Jesus is gone. Back to work. Just another Manic Monday. But then Jesus comes walking along the beach (notice there is no pomp and circumstance). Then Jesus is revealed when he breaks the common dinner bread with the two in Emmaus. (Still no pomp and circumstance).
Our own Monday will come and it will appear just like any other Monday. But the world is changed. Everything is different. Time is different. Life and Death are redefined. Justice, Vindication, Love – all redefined by Jesus.
If we think of Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday and _____ Monday as the the same ol’ same ol’ then we did not experience Jesus’ resurrection. We just grabbed some cheap religious dogma about eternal life and went on with life as usual. But Jesus is Life, the Life, the Only Life. All things are different. Jesus is with us. The Spirit abides. Jesus won, we won. But not how we expected.
Go figure this new life out. That’s what Jesus commanded us: “love one another.” This single command should consume all our time and efforts, this thing we call Life. Now go and make disciples… and behold! I am with you always to the very end of this new Time! Amen.