Saturday, April 7, 2007

Loneliest Day of the Year

Today is Holy Saturday. Jesus has died, and is in the tomb. The Twelve - now the Eleven - are scattered, terrified that they will be next to die. It is the Sabbath, the day of rest, and Mary the mother and the Mary the Magdalene are probably desperate to find something to do - anything to do - to distract their minds from the terrible sight of their beloved Jesus, betrayed, tortured, executed, dead. But they are not allowed to work. They cannot distract themselves with mending or cooking or laundry. They must sit. And wait. And remember.

There really isn't a liturgy for today. Some parishes worship with the Great Vigil this evening, but I try to make a practice of living in this day, this lonely, awful, painful day between knowing of the death and being surprised by the rising. There is powerful stuff to feel on this day. It is even more powerful to me this year, after announcing the death of a very important part of my life but not yet fully moved into the rising into a new life. And I chose not to accompany my husband and children on their road trip this week, so I am living Holy Saturday in my home, alone. Like Mary. Like the Magdalene. Like the frightened Eleven, terrified of their imminent capture and execution.

I really don't have a lot to say right now. I am just trying to connect with the story, to engage in my own story, to recognize what I am feeling. I am fortunate - unlike Mary and the Eleven, I know what tomorrow brings. I know that in the morning, I will sing joyful praise, and I will say Alleluia, and I will know that Jesus did not die once and for all. But in the meantime, I will wait, and I will feel, and I will be.

I never lost as much but twice,
And that was in the sod;
Twice have I stood a beggar
Before the door of God!

Angels, twice descending,
Reimbursed my store.
Burglar, banker, father,
I am poor once more!
(Emily Dickinson)