“The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you the dawn is coming.”Batman
Holy Saturday. It’s not hard to imagine how those apostles and loved ones of Jesus felt this day after He was crucified. It must’ve been holy hell. The pain of losing a loved one is unmatched, except perhaps by the sting and disorientation of it happening suddenly and unexpectedly. Few things are as disorienting, except perhaps having faith in something, only to be proved wrong. Jesus’ death was a trifecta of all these things for his followers. You might expect these things could happen with another human being, but certainly not from someone who you believed to be your savior.
Terror and humiliation probably outweighed their profound sadness, at least for most of the disciples. They had been made to look like fools, and were disillusioned and worried for their own lives. Afraid and without faith.
Grief is a powerful and painful emotion. But grief without belief, is hell. And on the “Holy Saturday,” the day sandwiched between Jesus’ brutal death and his resurrection, we are told he went to hell? What? Jesus. The story goes from bad to worse, it seems.
I’ve never understood that part of the equation , or much enjoyed reciting it in the Apostles Creed. Kinda scared the daylights out of me;
I believe in God,
the Father Almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
He descended into hell;
on the third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from there He will come to judge the living and the dead.
This was not a comforting prayer to have to memorize in eighth grade. Jesus went to hell, and now He and God are sitting side by side judging the rest of us? (Uhh, then I’m in trouble, Batman.) I’ve since come to read different interpretations of this line, and there are plenty that provide comfort, mores than this purported scenario. But I also think of hell as not necessarily a destination, but a state of mind; one we all have some experience with.
God only knows where Jesus was or went the day after He died, but I think we can all understand where his disciples were. Each in their own personal hell.
Grief is a brutal emotion. We know this. If not with the disorientation of a loved one dying suddenly, or too young, then with some other loss in our lives. It seems we are all living with some level of grief right now.
With grief comes fear and loneliness. I’ve been thinking a lot about the challenges of Corona; physically, spiritually, and symbolically. This Holy Saturday in particular, we are experiencing how very essential connectivity and human presence is. Isolation is a form of torture. My heart, and prayers go out to those suffering in isolation.
I also think about the end of Jesus’ life, crying out of thirst and asphyxiation, which is what crucification ultimately does. We saw in Jesus’ death, and we are seeing now with Covid-19; Without air and water we experience death. And without human and spiritual connection, we experience hell.
Today’s meditation: Be quiet. Be still. Breathe deeply into your grief. And in the darkness of it, stay tuned. Look for light. Listen for answers. These things will appear. Be patient. My heartfelt condolences to each of you who are grieving today, of whom there are many. Take solace in the fact that despite feeling isolated, and maybe even abandoned;
* * * You are Not Alone * * *
A podcast by Dr. Lisa Day, on Grieving: