Thanks to Anna, Paige's daughter for providing the image to inspire me to write this morning. Saturday, the day after the crucifixion...the startling blackness of the noon day, earth quakes, relatives and friends that had been dead for years seen walking around Jerusalem. The King of the Jews, who was to usher in a new Kingdom...now lifeless, decomposing in some cave.
It was a disaster...amidst the natural storm, there was an emotional storm of confusion, despair, sadness, loneliness, hopelessness.
We know for sure the family and friends of Jesus were terrified. John describes that they were gathered " with the door bolted, locked down for fear of the Jews " ( John 20:19 ), and the apocryphal Gospel of Peter says that the authorities were actively hunting Christ's followers down. The disciples were scared, and profoundly confused.
Had they been cruelly misled for three years? Had Jesus been merely a prophet and not the Christ at all? What of all the miracles, all the proof? Hadn't he predicted something like this? But surely God wouldn't permit His one and only Son to be crucified?
Prayer...Questions? Prayer...more Questions? Prayer...and still more Questions?
For the disciples, these questions would all be answered within the matter of hours in the most glorious way. When we experience similar seasons of doubt, confusion and despair, we to can be sure that the resurrection is on its way.
However, the experience of God's absence is not on to be rushed over as if it has no value in the Christian life. Quite the contrary: These days where life seems to stand still, in darkness and deafening silence has been the experience of many of the greatest saints in history from St. John of the Cross to Mother Teresa.
When Mother Teresa died in Calcutta at the age of 87, her diaries were collected by Roman Catholic authorities and taken back to Rome. Many were shocked, however, when they read her words and discovered the extreme inner turmoil experienced by the nun and Nobel Peace Laureate who always seemed so confident of her faith.
For instance we know that Mother Teresa wrote in 1958, " My smile is my great cloak that hides a multitude of pains... [ People ] think that my faith, my hope and my love are overflowing, and that my intimacy with God and union with His will fills my heart. If they only knew." ( Il Segreto di Madre Teresa ( Mother Teresa's Secret ), cited by Bruce Johnston, " Mother Teresa's Diary Reveals her crisis of Faith," Telgraph.co.uk, November 29, 2002 )
In another letter, she wrote, " the damned of hell suffer eternal punishment because the experiment with the loss of God. In my own soul, I feel the terrible pain of this loss. I feel that God does not want me, that God is not God, and that God does not exist."
We can only imagine what was going through the minds of the disciples and friends of Jesus as they endured this great silence. The gap, between the crucifixion and the resurrection is an on going season in the life of the believer. Martin Luther goes so far as to call God, " absconditus Deus "... literally, " the God who goes missing." The basis for this is Christ's own experience of foresakeness on the cross, a moment that speaks profoundly of God's silence.
We want God to answer prayer through powerful interventions, but in the cross we recognize by faith the presence of God in weakness, suffering and silence. But in the midst of this profound darkness is a small candle with a flickering flame, that God holds close to his heart...which will split the darkness, pierce the silence...in which divine eternal light will illuminate the dawn of a new day, the new beginnings, and the new creation...all will be resurrected.
"We leave knowing
and trusting in Your faithfulness
even in the darkest sorrow
,Your light is the glimmering hope
of Glory to
Thanks Anna, for the truth behind the hidden light of Holy Saturday