Pilgrim Year Books and Box Set

The following is an excerpt from Steve's Holy Week book from the Pilgrim Year book series.

Holy Saturday: Day of Joyful Sadness

We are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust.

Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), Milestones: Memoirs 1927–1977 (Ignatius Press, 1998), ADD PAGE NUMBER.

I come from good Baptist stock, and as such we weren’t mindful of the tradition of the Church year when I was growing up. I don’t recall ever hearing the term ‘Advent’ until my teens. We did, of course, celebrate Christmas, but it was a single day, not the traditional twelve-day feast, and there was never mention of a season called Epiphany. Lent I knew – that was something that Catholics did. However, we did observe a truncated Holy Week, which included Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

I distinctly remember the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday as a strange day. We had no tradition for it, but it just didn’t seem right to entertain a typical Saturday. Because after a solemn Good Friday service – always a communal reflection on the staggering cost Christ paid to free us from the devastation of ancestral sin and our wilful, though ultimately helpless, collusion with it – Saturday seemed to be suspended in time, sort of floating in limbo; a time between times. The world seemed hushed to me, eerily quiet. I remember wanting to walk around as quietly as I could as if trying not to wake someone up.

Of course, the instinct to be hushed was right, because Holy Saturday is traditionally understood to commemorate the Great Sabbath rest when Christ lay in repose, harkening back to the ancient story of creation when, on the seventh day, God rested simply because nothing was left to be done. Except in this case, no joy can be found in the rest. No deep satisfaction. Instead, there is utter, devastating, irrecoverable loss. The unthinkable has happened and cannot be undone.

I wonder what it would have been like to be a friend of Jesus, to have experienced his vigour, his newness and the wild hope he would have aroused for a long-awaited promise to be fulfilled. And then to experience his grim suffering and death, and to have no idea that the astonishing Resurrection life was about to break into history and inaugurate the new creation, eternal and ever-green. The anguish must have been crushing.

My friend Alana Levandoski captured these words in a song:

EASTER EVE
music and lyrics by Alana Levandoski

It’s over now
And we are lost
In a desert without tears
Guess it wasn’t what we thought
Wish we could turn back the years
But there’s no way out of here
There’s no way out of here
There’s no way out of here

It’s over now
So say good-bye
But our mouths can’t shape the words
Shut your doors
Don’t even try
’cause no matter what you’ve heard

There’s no way out of here
There’s no way out of here
There’s no way out of here

Come back
Please come back
Wake up
Please wake up

’cause there’s no way out of here
There’s no way out of here
There’s no way out of here

“Easter Eve” is found on Alana Levandoski’s 2010 album Hymns from the Desert. Information about Alana Levandoski and her music can be found at alanalevandoski.com.

So, it is equally appropriate to offer a song of light and hope on this day as it is to offer a song of darkness and despair. For the resurrection of Jesus, signalling God’s future rushing towards us in our present is indeed upon us. Or, to repeat what was suggested earlier, the best place to witness a resurrection is in a graveyard.

Resurrection

BEHOLD, I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW
music and lyrics by Alana Levandoski

Behold I make all things new
Behold I make all things new
Behold I make all things new
Let there be light

God unseen, is taking form
God unseen, is taking form
God unseen, is taking form
Let there be life

The First and Last is surging forth
The First and Last is surging forth
The First and Last is surging forth
Becoming life.

“Easter Eve” is found on Alana Levandoski’s 2010 album Hymns from the Desert. Information about Alana Levandoski and her music can be found at alanalevandoski.com.


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