Holy Week Reflections – Holy Saturday and Liminal Space

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Psalm 31:1-4

In you, O LORD, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me.
Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily. Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me.
You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
take me out of the net that is hidden for me, for you are my refuge.

In the churches I have been a part of, the emphasis has been on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. A few churches I’ve been a part of have included Maundy Thursday services.

But what about Holy Saturday, what shall we make of that practice?

Maybe we in less liturgical churches could gain something from our more liturgical fellow Jesus followers?

At this point, would like to toss out another SAT word – liminal. Excerpt from the URL:

What happens if you lose what appears to be your “everything” and you do not know what to do next? If you feel that you are anxiously floating in the in between perhaps you are in The Liminal Space.
[…….]”It is when you have left the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer. If you are not trained in how to hold anxiety, how to live with ambiguity, how to entrust and wait, you will run … anything to flee this terrible cloud of unknowing.” 
- Richard Rohr

After Jesus died on the Cross, the followers of Jesus were in that Liminal Space. Their “everything” was gone and even if they remembered those words about resurrection they didn’t know if it would happen. And so they waited …

Peter replaying in his mind his three denials.
John watching Jesus die and receiving instructions from him to care for mother Mary wondering what was next for the whole group.
Thomas questioning himself about what he had said.
Simon of Cyrene wondering how he found himself helping carry Jesus’ cross – did he know who Jesus was? Was he already a follower?
The feelings of guilt and shame the 12 felt having fled Jesus at his arrest.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus perhaps in muted conversation about the shocking events.
And let’s not forget the women who were there and what they were thinking and feeling.

All of these people were in liminal space, “anxiously floating in the in between.” And as good Jewish people, they may have turned to the Psalms for comfort, for a way to put into words their feelings, for some way to shake replying in their minds the grisly events that had unfolded, for turning their souls toward God. Specifically, they would turn to Psalms of Lament.

How about us?

Though we know the story (Resurrection) after the story (Cross), we in a sense live in Holy Saturday not just today but every day. We know the story (the Incarnation Jesus and the Outpouring of the Spirit) but we await the story (Jesus return). We live in the already-but-not-yet.

And so, we too turn to the Psalms of Lament like Psalm 31:1-4 on Holy Saturday and on many other days …..

In you, O LORD, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me. Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily. Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me. You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me, take me out of the net that is hidden for me, for you are my refuge.

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