Saturday, April 11, 2009

Holy Saturday

I know some things now, about waiting in the dark. I know about fear, uncertainty, and pain. I have tasted grief. I remember horror.

But I have never known despair. My misery has an end date, marked on my and some other people’s calendars. I will get my own health back. God only knows how long I will keep it—but that is true, for all of us. Every moment is sacred.

My body has taught me to believe in the Resurrection. I was diagnosed during Easter season last year, and I have clung to the hope of life and health. God is my grace and my strength. But I knew the Gospel story before I ever had to live it. And I knew the end, before I ever thought about the middle.

The eleven, the women, the crowds whom Jesus healed, and taught, and fed. They did not know. They watched their hope take his last gasping breath, on the wood. The women rose early on that third morning, to wash the body of the friend whom they loved. To give an outlet to their ache, their shock, their grief. To do the last thing they could, for him.

They did not know. How could they? Until that moment, death was death.

It will never be again. The hand of God reached inside the tomb. Jesus woke, so that we all might live.

But on that holy Saturday, there was grief without hope. Their world was shattered. Their love was dead, murdered by the occupying power. Their tears could have gotten them killed, also.

They did not know.

I don’t believe in hell. But I love the idea, of the harrowing of it. Jesus went to the place that only he could break into. Kicked down the door, and dragged the people chained inside, out into freedom, light, and love. Out of desolation, into the embrace of God.

I did the strangest thing I’ve ever done on Holy Saturday. This afternoon, I colored two dozen eggs for Open Cathedral tomorrow. We’re baptizing two kids, outside, in the Tenderloin. In front of fifty witnesses who may or may not have homes or jobs, but who find community in this weekly, rag-tag, Eucharistic feast.

It’ll be wonderful. The eggs are edible, festive, fun evangelism. We’ll give them to all who walk by. It’s going to be a street party.

2 p.m. tomorrow, McAllister and Leavenworth. Come rejoice with us!

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