St Mark’s Lenten Meditations From Our Members

Holy Saturday

Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24    Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16    1 Peter 4:1-8    Matthew 27:57-66

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is, But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity, Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards, Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point, There would be no dance, and there is only the dance. I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where. And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time. – Excerpt from BURNT NORTON (No. 1 of ‘Four Quartets’) by T.S. Eliot

On Holy Saturday we are struck with the depth of suffering that our Lord has undertaken for us – and yet we hang in the balance of “what is to happen next?”  Daily life trains us in learning to live between and betwixt gain and loss, pursuit and abandonment, hope and cynicism.  On the first Saturday following the first Good Friday, I imagine that those close to Jesus found themselves caught, suspended, within the action and reaction of the old cycle.  My intuition tells me that they felt they had nowhere to put their feet; no place to find a foothold in a world where Jesus was suddenly defeated, and gone.  On the first Holy Saturday – there was most certainly an aroma of defeat in the air – as though the lying, mendacious, and scheming forces of this world had succeeded, again, in killing an innocent man for the sake of a misguided idealism.  On the first Holy Saturday, no one could have known, what was to happen; how God would act – there was simply a hovering over that great echoing black void when tragedy strikes.  Through the years I have come to cherish Holy Saturday within the parish church.  The busyness of arranging a “successful” Holy Week becomes a chore, with well-meaning Christians slipping into imitating the anxiousness of Mary, rather than sitting and doodling with Mary at Jesus’ feet.  Mysteriously our Holy Saturday devotion gives a brief respite from a delicious sense of accomplishment and “works righteousness”; a moment to exhale with the parish faithful – the altar guild, the choirs, the flower guilds – and sit quietly amid the ruins and desolation of an innocent life given for the guilty.  A moment to give thanks that there is a place for holy powerlessness in the midst of a world gone mad for power; a pause from the sad continuation of the weak forever pulling down the strong. 

The one day of His absence; and the day of our waiting at the “still point of the turning world.”

Blessings and Godspeed,

Alston Johnson

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