Saturday, March 31, 2018

Waiting in Darkness

St Peter Weeping before the Virgin - Guercino
The Guard at the Tomb 
The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” 
“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. Matthew 27:62-66

It is Easter weekend. I don't expect a lot of views on the blog from Good Friday to Easter Sunday. Perhaps it's the fact that it's a weekend in Spring and folks are out enjoying the weather as it warms and we start to shed our winter clothing and winter attitudes. Maybe it's because "religious posts" as some call them, don't fair so well as the normal posts.

I don't know.

I do know that I am a man of faith and that I try to observe the religious holidays as best I can. If posting about the Passion of the Christ, His death, and His Resurrection makes some uncomfortable, or is found uninteresting by some, so be it.

Easter is the most important of religious observances. While Christmas gave us the promise of Salvation, Easter delivers the goods, so to speak. Christ had to die so that we might live and be saved. Do I understand all the nuances of this?

Of course not.

But I do what I can, when I can. I pray, I hope, I believe.

In years gone by I didn't really understand how to feel about the Saturday after Good Friday, some call it Holy Saturday, the name seems fitting.

For me, it's a day of anticipation, a day of waiting. Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus the Christ was crucified at Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, and was buried in his tomb. His followers were stunned, disorganized. Everything He had told them had come to pass, they had scarce believed His Words as He told them what must happen.

Now the cross was empty, the stone at the entrance to the tomb was in place. The disciples no doubt were laying low, would the authorities come after them? Would they too be put to death? I wonder if any of them remembered what Jesus had said, that on the third day He would be raised to life?

Did they believe? Or only hope that what He had said would come to pass. They had seen many miracles performed by this man, yet they probably remained skeptical. The very real fear they felt after the Crucifixion must have driven them mad with worry. I know how I would have felt.

So for me, Holy Saturday is a day where I contemplate the darkness of life without the Savior, a day of waiting, a day of hoping.

I have learned that with faith, all things are possible.

So I wait, with breathless anticipation...

For the return of my King.



20 comments:

  1. These posts fare well for me Sarge, thanks. Oh, BTW, another 2" to 3" of the white stuff fell overnight with temps falling all day to 12 above Easter morning..... aaack...

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    1. Snow. Wonderful.

      At Christmas. At Easter? Not so much.

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  2. Excellent post. I'm here and not enjoying spring as it is cold, wet, blustery and we're expecting snow tomorrow. Also preparing to go to the funeral of an old friend who has fought ALS for many years until he lost his fight on Wednesday. Another Vietnam Veteran gone. I grieve for me because I miss him and I grieve for his family because they miss him so much more. But I do not grieve for Walt because he is young and vibrant again, walking with the one who rose on the third day and gave him the Grace he needed.

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    1. Prayers for those your friend left behind. He is in a better place.

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    2. just thought I would post something a little lighter written by an old friend who passed last year just before Easter. Frank Montoya was the Poet Laureate of Fountain Colorado and a poet par excellence:

      It’s Easter.....winter days are through.
      It’s Easter.....and life begins anew.
      This day Our Lord came back to earth,
      And we rejoice, as well we do his day of birth.
      The warmth of Spring that we’ve waited for
      Is finally knocking at our door.
      It’s Easter...Resurrection Day,
      Now all our ills can melt away.
      Like the snow up on the mountain crest.
      For the robin soon must build his nest.
      And seeds must sprout to greet the sun,
      To green the earth ere many days are done.
      The Easter Lilies have bloomed, so fair,
      And the Bunny hides tinted eggs here and there.
      The children hunt for them, eyes shining bright,
      While holding their baskets with all their might.
      In days gone by, the bands would play,
      For parades were common this happy day.
      In Easter Bonnets, frills and lace,
      Young maids would rush to take their place.
      Beside their beaux so smartly dressed
      With shirts and trousers neatly pressed.
      Then all would promenade through town,
      Marching prim and proudly up and down.
      And late that day they all would meet
      At Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe for a tasty treat.
      It’s Easter.....so please celebrate
      Those things that make this day so great.
      The promise of life like the budding trees,
      And the freedom to worship on bended knees.

      Frank J. Montoya

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  3. "If posting about the Passion of the Christ, His death, and His Resurrection makes some uncomfortable, or is found uninteresting by some, so be it."

    I hope you didn't interpret my comment yesterday as me being uncomfortable or uninterested. It is just that I am not of your faith. That does not mean that I enjoy and look forward to your posts any the less.

    As it is written ( in the First Amendment of our Constitution ) so shall it be.Those of us who have served our country should know that as we have sworn the Oath.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. Not at all Paul. I was going by the number of page views.

      As to faith, we all differ somewhat. Not to ask a personal question, but what is your belief. (If you prefer to stay silent, I understand, it's rather rude, perhaps, of me to ask. But my curiosity knows no bounds. Nor limits apparently.)

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    2. I have no problem telling you, but I would prefer not to in a public forum.

      Paul

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  4. A few take-aways. The men ran off and hid, excepting one. The women stayed and watched. It was the women, and a few secret male followers who braced the authorities to take His Body down and do the hard, dirty, emotionally draining work of preparation and burial. And, it was to the women that was given the honor of the news of the Resurrection.

    Great and Holy Friday - Troparion & Kontakion
    Commemorated on April 6 (Yep, that is correct for Orthodox this year)
    Troparion — Tone 2
    The Noble Joseph, / When he had taken down Your most pure Body from the tree, / Wrapped it in fine linen, / And anointed it with spices, / And placed it in a new tomb.

    Troparion — Tone 2
    The angel came to the myrrh-bearing women at the tomb and said: / Myrrh is fitting for the dead, / But Christ has shown Himself a stranger to corruption.

    Kontakion — Tone 8
    Come, let us all sing the praises of Him who was crucified for us, / For Mary said when she beheld Him upon the tree: / Though You do endure the cross, You are my Son and my God!

    The Cherubic Hymn for Great and Holy Saturday:
    Let all mortal flesh keep silence and stand with fear and trembling, and take no thought for any earthly thing, for the King of kings, and Lord of lords cometh to be slayed and be given as food for the faithful. Before Him go the choirs of the angels with all authority and power: The many-eyed Cherubim and the six-winged Seraphim, covering their faces and crying out the hymn: Alleluia.

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  5. According to the Catholic faith, the Saturday between His death and His Resurrection is the time He went to Hell and fought for the souls imprisoned there before Forgiveness was the new doctrine. Only those souls truly deserving to stay in Hell stayed, the rest were released to Heaven (probably some with a stay in Purgatory, too.) A different kind of Exodus. This signaled the end of the Old Testament moral rules and the beginning of the New Testament moral guidelines.

    Now, I thought everyone knew this. But nope. My formerly Jewish wife, who was formerly a hard-core Church of Christ catechism teacher (really long story there, hmmmm, maybe an idea for something) was never taught this. So, of course, one day we checked out various doctrines and found that many hard-core Protestant sects don't cover this, instead focusing on the Fire and Brimstone of the Old Testament (John Knox and his compatriots were a tad bit wound too tight, dontcha know) rather than the more mellow 'Just Try to be Good' of the message of the New Testament and the Kneelers for Christ (as one term by the rather dogmatic Church of Christ church my wife belonged to called Catholics (when they weren't calling us something much worse).) And, of course, this was all mixed in with various Judaic interpretations depending on what sect of Judaism one follows.

    Isn't religion fun? A million ways to say, "Dude, mellow out. Chill. Try to get along."

    So, in recognition of Jesus going into Hell and fighting mightedly for the souls of our ancient ancestors, I will be forced to struggle in the kitchen and wrest BLTs from the clutches of the twin forces of evil appliances, the refrigerator and the stove. (I did say my wife was not currently of the Jewish faith, so I am not a complete butt-head about BLTs for both of us. Before our marriage some priest talked to her, smeared oil on her head, and said, "Poof! You're a Catholic." (another long story there, hmmmmm.)

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    1. A million ways to say, "Dude, mellow out. Chill. Try to get along."

      Pretty good way to put it.

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    2. The easiest the simplest way to get along among the Christian religions is to look for the similarities rather than the differences.
      Of course, that’s pretty much true in politics, as well.
      I pretty much avoid discussing either, particularly in social media forums.
      Your posts are relevant.
      That’s what’s important.

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  6. You do quite well with these posts, Sarge, and they're always a treat for me to read.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)