Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Saturday

We talk a lot about Good Friday and Easter Sunday - but what is today? What is the meaning of the Saturday between the death and the resurrection? In truth, this is where most of us live much of our lives. We live in the waiting time - the time between a death, be it a trauma, a loss, a heartbreak, a disappointment, and what might come of it.

As Christians we believe that God is at work in everything, bringing life. Even the worst situations, put into the hands of God, bring life. God is the great integrator, the maker of what might become new. But the reality is that we must live into the Saturday - the period of time when death hangs over us and life has not yet been resurrected.

In her book called Spirit and Trauma, Shelly Rambo deals extensively with the idea of Saturday - the time between. (I highly recommend it if you are inclined to this kind of question.) One of Shelly's ideas is that after a trauma, life is forever changed, because elements of death remain. This 'remaining' is what we struggle with. Yes life goes on, even blossoms. No, we never get 'over it.'

So, the disciples and friends of Jesus walk around their homes and streets on this (symbolic) day, in a state of shock and pain that makes their hearts literally ache.The waiting. The thinking. Images forced into their brains. No sleep. Tears. Dry mouth. Pounding tension headache.

And then the resurrection, but the Jesus they knew is not the Jesus they can hold onto now. It is a whole new thing. You might argue, a better thing, but it is another death. Hear this little poem imagined from the lips of Mary:

I never suspected
to be so painful
to leave me weeping
With joy
to have met you, alive and smiling, outside an empty
With regret
not because I've lost you
but because I've lost you in how I had you -
in understandable, touchable, kissable, clingable
not as fully Lord, but as graspably human.

I want to cling, despite your protest
cling to your body
cling to your, and my, clingable humanity
cling to what we had, our past.

But I know that ... if I cling
you cannot ascend and
I will be left clinging to your former self
... unable to receive your present spirit.

by Ronald Rolheiser