I wept last night. It wasn’t the kind of crying where one cute teardrop falls down my cheek — I full on cried.
Reading the Isaiah passage for the congregation, I fought back tears as the names of people lost at the hands of senseless violence ran through my head.
Just as there were many who were astonished at him–so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance,
Emmett Till, Philando Castile He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
Andrew Del Pilar, Zakaria Fry, Viccky Gutierrez,
But it was our transgressions that wounded him, our iniquities that crushed him;
Malcolm X, Sandra Bland
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;
Martin Luther King Jr, Standing Rock Sioux
By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people.
Parkland High School, Pulse Nightclub, Columbine High School, Sandy Hook Elementary They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Jessica Leeds, Jill Harth, Mindy McGillivray
He was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Stephon Clark, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin
As we venerated the cross, I prayed for members as they knelt. I found myself moved deeply by prayers: “May you know how deeply God loves you.” If I knew the parishioners personally I prayed in specifics: “May God break through your loneliness” or “May God’s love find a way through your adolescent aloofness.” I sensed God’s ache for each person. And I cried.
After the service, I went back into the chapel alone and sat by our cross. My tears flowed more heavily once I was in silence. How, how, how? how do we keep letting this violence happen? Will Easter come?
The grief of Holy Saturday, the kind that grips our souls, is typically reserved for individual people we know and love intimately. But today we, just like Judas, Joseph of Arimathea, Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, are invited to a despair that encompasses the pain of all life shed of hope, and to wonder if we will know Love.
I invite you to consider these two accounts of grief: the death of Judas and the waiting at the tomb by the women. They accounts both display the utter pain and dismay of people who loved Jesus. However, the women are able to hold onto God’s love in the midst of their grief and this love motivates them to respond faithfully.
This is the sort of grief to which we are called: to speak truth when lies are uttered, to refuse to perpetuate the lie that “it’s better,” to march, to advocate, to offer ourselves and our service to the Love of God.
Pray: How long O Lord?
Reflect: On this Holy Saturday how does our abiding faith in God’s love motivate us to grieve death in a way that leads to faithful action?
Words of Gratitude: Thank you to everyone for walking this Lenten journey with me. There were many days where the writing did not come easily or required me to wake early, and at those times I wished I had not made the promise to write daily. However, hearing the ways these pieces have touched you has been an invaluable gift and I pray God’s presence abounds with you as we await Easter. I am especially grateful to my friend, coach, and editor Jesse Ortiz. Without their support and commitment to this project it would not have happened.