Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Holy Saturday Plea

When I was a kid, I thought that today, Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, was the absolute worst day on the calendar.

It was the only day the disciples were completely and totally without Jesus.

Even on Good Friday, in the midst of His Passion, Jesus found the strength and energy to exhort the women of Jerusalem to not weep for Him (Luke 23:28).  Even though His words are scary in an entirely other sense because He tells us to weep for ourselves, He is still very much among the living, even if all He has left to do is die.  He is still teaching, even if all He has left to do is to be made silent.

In other words, Christ is still present on Good Friday.  And, as we all know, He returns to us anew on Easter Sunday.

But Holy Saturday?  That day sucks.  No Christ at all, but the disciples are expected to celebrate both the next day of Passover and the Sabbath as proscribed by their religious tradition.  If we worship God out of celebration (and many of us do, even if not every Sunday), imagine thinking why on earth you should be celebratory when the entire spiritual foundation of your life has just been ripped out from under you like the road underneath Wile E. Coyote.

So yeah, Holy Saturday can bite me.  But I'm supposed to endure it as a Christian.  I am supposed to endure it because I am supposed to walk alongside Christ, and this was something that was done to Him at our hands.

Much as we may think God wanted this to happen, God did not kill Jesus.  We did.

So I get today to stew in my own culpability, my own sinfulness in how I continue to crucify Christ by not caring enough for others or for God's creation, by not standing up and speaking out when I felt more comfortable remaining silent, and then resenting my own inability to make a bigger difference on behalf of the Christ who was crucified yesterday and who is risen tomorrow.

So, here's my first plea: please, please do not make these same mistakes, as much as you are able to.

And here's my second: don't let others make these same mistakes.

It is the lack of caring that so pains and harms God's children, of this I am certain.  Despite his protestations, Pilate could not have cared less about what ultimately happened to Jesus; if he did, he would have ordered Jesus freed and Barabbas crucified.

And then cruelly, Pilate washes his hands of that decision.

How many times do we reach for Pilate's washbasin to wash our hands of our treatment of others?

How often to we try to cleanse our hands of the stain of the blood of gay and lesbian neighbors, or persons of color, or people crushed under the satanic (yes, satanic) yokes of poverty, homelessness, or malnutrition?

And how often do we then lament the state of the world, and focus on putting blame on anyone but ourselves?

Guess what: that is what the temple authorities have just finished doing: lamenting the state of the world and focusing on putting the blame on Jesus rather than where it belonged...on their own shoulders.

Please, remember how great your responsibility is in a Holy Saturday world.  Remember that your call to holiness extends far beyond the mere coils of your personal beliefs and thoughts.  After all, Pilate thought Jesus innocent, but it did not stop him from handing Jesus over to be crucified.

This Holy Saturday, we need fewer Pilates, and more Mary Magdalenes, and Salomes, the women who hurried as soon as they were able with the Sabbath ended to return to Christ's side, even if they thought Him to be dead.

They had not washed their hands of what had happened.  They remembered.

So too, then, must we.  And then do it differently the second time around.

Yours in the crucified, now dead, but soon to rise, Christ,

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