Honesty in the Silence (Lenten Lectio Reflection for Holy Saturday – Psalm 31:9-14)

Mourning of Jesus, by Jacques Le Breton, & Jean Gaudin. Stained glass at Cathédrale d’Amiens, Amiens, France.

Have mercy on me, Lord, because I’m depressed.
My vision fails because of my grief, as do my spirit and my body.
My life is consumed with sadness; my years are consumed with groaning.
Strength fails me because of my suffering; my bones dry up.
I’m a joke to all my enemies, still worse to my neighbors.
I scare my friends, and whoever sees me in the street runs away!
I am forgotten, like I’m dead, completely out of mind;
I am like a piece of pottery, destroyed.
Yes, I’ve heard all the gossiping, terror all around;
so many gang up together against me, they plan to take my life!
But me? I trust you, Lord! I affirm, “You are my God.”
Psalm 31:9-14 (CEB)

This might seem a little macabre for some of you, but I confess that Holy Saturday has become my favorite day in Lent. Not because it is the last day of Lent and tomorrow the fasting and introspection is over. But because it is the most emotionally raw and potentially honest day of the Lenten season. Holy Saturday recognizes the day that Jesus laid in the tomb and nothing happened. Holy Saturday is the day when it seems like all hope is lost and all the miracles and work of Jesus were for naught.

Jesus is dead.

God never seemed to show up.

The Roman authorities are still in power.

Nothing changed.

Holy Saturday is an emotionally awkward day. There is a temptation to not think about it and jump to the hope and resurrection of Easter. But, if we’re really honest with ourselves, that is never how our lives work. Personally, this has been one hell of a year for me and I could have tried to ignore the pain and run away from the emotions. First, my father died back in July and then my family was rocked by the miscarriage of our second daughter, Zoey Grace, in December. Couple with that a lack of movement in my career goals and dreams and there was a big temptation to just accept the easy answers and move on. As I wrote about a few times, I’ve felt a bit like being in the wilderness. I could have parroted the easy answers that, “everything happens for a reason” or “God loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life.” But, that would not have been emotionally honest. Like this Psalmist writes, “My vision fails because of my grief, as do my spirit and my body. My life is consumed with sadness; my years are consumed with groaning.” The Psalmist does not ignore his true feelings. Rather, he lets them be known to God and to anyone listening to the song. He does not jump to leaning on his trust in God until all the emotions are out. He acknowledges his pain before the reminder comes that “I trust you, Lord! I affirm, ‘You are my God.'”

There is no healing before the pain.

There is no resurrection without the cross.

There is no Easter without Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

I couldn’t accept the easy answers. I dove in head first and embraced the pain, awkwardness and disorientation of the whole mess. Like a good relationship, it’s never good to ignore the elephant in the room. Communication is key and when it comes to things like this, communication and interaction with one’s emotions is key to getting through reasonably unscathed.

My father died.

Our daughter died.

God never seemed to show up.

Nothing is changing.

This is the lesson of Holy Saturday. There is something to be learned in the honesty of the silence. This is especially true now as we in the present time sit between the resurrection of Christ and his redemption and resolution of all things. There is a spiritual awkwardness as we live in the already and not yet of the Kingdom of God. Like the disciples probably wondering what the heck happened on Holy Saturday, we can listen to the news and wonder the same thing.

Jesus is dead.

God never seems to show up.

Sin and death are still in power.

Evil people still get their way.

There is a deep honesty in feeling the silence of Holy Saturday. It is good to feel the pain and awkwardness. It’s only after doing those things that Easter and the resurrection can be experienced in their full weight and glory. Not just as another day of the year, or simply a day for feasting and family.

But as a day when something happened.

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2 thoughts on “Honesty in the Silence (Lenten Lectio Reflection for Holy Saturday – Psalm 31:9-14)

  1. Bad things happen to all of us. It builds our faith and others’. This is an important post for all Christians, I write this with tears rolling down my cheeks remembering your grief. We live in a fallen world but we now have the peace of the risen Jesus to lean on in joy and in grief. Happy Easter to you and your family. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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