Saturday, April 4, 2015

Holy Saturday

We sat in that room all day. We men sat pretty much in silence scattered around the floor, not trying to talk, not knowing what to say. The women were huddled together in the corner, sometimes whispering to one another then breaking out into quiet sobbing. Mary Magdalene started wailing a few times, and the others hugged her and tried to comfort her but it didn't work. Martha was so depressed she wouldn't even get up to prepare a meal, but we weren't hungry anyway. Simon got up once and wandered around aimlessly, pounding his fist into his palm then sat back down in a far corner with his cloak over his head.

I didn't know what to think. My mind was a sandstorm, swirling and opaque, without direction. All I could think of was that Jesus was dead. As hard as that was to accept, Jesus was dead! After all we had been through together, walking up and down the land and hearing his words that rang in our ears and made us re-think everything; after seeing his miracles; after hearing the threats from the religious leaders he had challenged and the cheers of the common people he had healed; and when the crowds turned angry and screamed for his blood, then it was all over so quickly.

I couldn't get that horrible night out of my mind -- when the crowds of soldiers and temple guards and the traitor Judas came to one of our favorite private places and took Jesus away. And he didn't work a miracle, or send them away ashamed, in silence, with one of his priceless sayings. He just went with them. He went with them to the Roman barracks and just let the soldiers beat him, and the Sanhedrin gathered at night and their hate washed over him like a spring flood, and he let them lie about him and conjure up false witnesses to condemn him.

And then he was on the cross, that horrible instrument of infinite torture, of death creeping too slowly, a death born out of cruel, twisted hatred. I couldn't bear to look but I couldn't leave. And finally, with a loud cry, he was dead. The earth shook and all three crosses creaked, and the soldiers let us bring him down so Joseph could take him to a real tomb, lest he be eaten by the dogs that were already gathered. And then we came back here and sat, staring into space, with nothing to say or do, shocked into silence, at this abrupt end to the dream we had of Jesus' greatness.

And all along we had thought he was the one who would save our people Israel. Perhaps there are some things the Lord won't do for us after all. Our hope is gone. We may as well walk home tomorrow, and hope nobody turns us in to the guards. But first we may as well sleep.

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