Most Protestants do not know bother meditating on Holy Saturday. Who would blame them? As a pastor I myself hardly taught about it, or even thought about it. It is exposure to contemplative spirituality that led me to discern a rich vein of golden truths hidden in the tomb.
The waiting in the tomb speaks to me in so many ways. It tells me that many periods in life can be like being in the uncertain tomb, between the certainties of death and resurrection. To the disciples who followed Jesus it was certainly a period of anxiety, confusion, ambiguity, and the humiliation of not knowing what to do. There are times of transitions in our life when this is exactly how we feel too. We do not know for certain how things will pan out. Will I be able to get a job after the pandemic? Will I lose my current job?
We do learn however that we need to do during this time of uncertainty is WAIT. Waiting patiently is not exactly a Millenial’s favourite thing to do. For that matter, nobody of any age likes to wait. But this stillness, silence and waiting in the tomb is exactly what God is inviting us to do. For in that waiting will be birthed forth and formed the new you that will be able to cope, enjoy, endure and triumph over what is NEXT.
Which is what this period of ‘circuit breaker’ seems to be all about. We are in our homely tombs. We feel uncertain as the daily number of covid-19 cases increases rather than decreases. Its been five days and uncertainty still prevails. It is clear we need to be more strict and careful with our social distancing. But what happens next nobody can be sure, although the graph should show a downward curve by the end of the one month of tempered lock down. We are in the in between period, the liminal space of neither here nor there, or not knowing what or how, of seeing through a glass darkly. We will learn that God’s delay is not denial, and his silence is not abandonment.
Jesus stayed still, silent and waited as the dead would. But in his faith perfected by suffering, he knew that the Father, in due time would come to rescue him from the grip of death, and breathe in him the resurrection life of eternal power. We too will need to exercise a faith that after we die in the Lord, there will be a resurrection of the dead from the graves and columbariums and the seas and the earth, and it will be a resurrection unto life, not condemnation or judgment.
This Holy Saturday, my daughter in law, Ping, organized and led a seder passover meal, a Christian version. It brought together four households via WhatsApp video call. We got the bread, grapejuice, some bitter stuff (wasabi, or herbs), a candle. We gave parts to everyone, including our grandchildren, and went through the script patiently. How wonderful for family to be together in this way – pondering over the great escape from the angel of death through the Blood of the Lamb applied on the doorposts of every believing familiy! This is good preparation for the Lord’s Table on Easter Sunday tomorrow.