Weird Saturday: Choosing Hope
I know I should be writing about Easter. I always do.
Hallelujah, Praise the Lord, He is risen, etc.
But it’s not Easter. It’s Weird Saturday. The end of the Lenten period of reflection and self-examination, but not yet the time of joyful celebration.
As I told a friend at our Good Friday service last night, I never know what I’m supposed to do on the day before Easter. How to respond? My friend said, “You should mope.”
Seems about right. This is the day when Jesus’s friends, family, and followers thought that all hope was lost. They had witnessed Jesus being tortured, mocked, and murdered. The one they thought would save the world was dead, crucified on a cross.
Being a good codependent, it’s pretty easy for me to get inside other people’s heads and imagine what they are feeling. (That’s often easier than dealing with my own feelings.) So I imagine what Jesus’s friends were feeling on that Saturday after Passover. Grief, of course. Hopelessness, no doubt. Darkness, fear, confusion. An existential desperation. (Think November 9, 2016 writ large.)
At our service last night, we heard the scriptures about Jesus being terrified of his calling, betrayed by his friend, beaten by cruel soldiers, mocked by passersby, and nailed to a tree. We shouted with the crazed crowd, “Crucify him! Crucify him! Crucify him!”
As each story was read, another candle was snuffed out, until at last we heard Jesus cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And then it went dark. And we were alone.
I felt real fear deep in my gut. The reality of humanity without the reality of a living, all-encompassing Love. The reality of an abyss of complete darkness without a rescuing burst of light and power. What if we really are all we’ve got? Our only hope?
I felt that, just for a moment.
I know that some people think that religion in general and Christianity in particular is make-believe. Rose from the dead? Yeah, right.
That’s OK. What we believe doesn’t affect reality. What is, is. We each get to choose.
In a sense, I no longer have a choice. I have been tagging along after Jesus long enough to know now. There is no doubt for me.
Easter morning comes. There will be light! There will be singing and rejoicing. There will be flowers and feasting and freedom from fear. There will be laughter, and there will be champagne bubbles tickling our noses.
I wish you a lovely April day, regardless of your beliefs.
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5