The Space Between

I love the wide space of Holy Saturday.  Lingering between the suffering and death of Jesus on Friday and the vigil Saturday night proclaiming the return of the Easter fire.  For me Holy Saturday evokes much about the human condition.  The ways in which we are called to let go of things or people, identities or securities and then wonder what will rise up out of the ashes of our lives.  The suffering that we experience because of pain or grief or great sorrow and we don’t know if we will grasp joy again.  How often do we simply wait and hope that out of death there will be new life?  Much of our lives rest in that space between loss and hope. 

“Easter completes the archetypal pattern at the center of the Christian life: death and resurrection, crucifixion and vindication.  Both parts of this pattern are essential: death and resurrection, crucifixion and vindication. When one is emphasized over the other distortion is the result.  The two must be affirmed equally. . . Easter without Good Friday risks sentimentality and vacuity.  It becomes an affirmation that spring follows winter, life follows death, flowers will bloom again, and it is time for bonnets and bunnies.  But Easter as the reversal of Good Friday means God’s vindication of Jesus’s passion for the kingdom of God, for God’s justice, and God’s “no” to the powers who killed him, powers still very much active in our world.” -from The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan.

They go on to say that the archetypal pattern of Good Friday and Easter is both personal and political and addresses the fundamental human question of what ails us. Egoism and injustice they say concisely — we are called to both personal and the political transformation.

But first we are invited to dwell fully in the space of unknowing, of holding death and life in tension with each other, to experience that liminal place so that we might one day accompany others who find themselves there and disoriented.  The wisdom of the Triduum is that we must be fully present to both the starkness of Friday and to the Saturday space between, before we can really experience the resurrection.  We must know the terrible experience of loss wrought again and again in our world so that when the promise of new life dawns we might stand firmly in our “no” to egoism and injustice alongside of God.

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

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