Monica E. Smith

Monica E. Smith

Saturday, April 03, 2010

He is Not There...

Mark 16: 1 - 7

1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Mag'dalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salo'me, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.
2 And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen.
3 And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?"
4 And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back; -- it was very large.
5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed.
6 And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him.
7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you." 

Today when I awoke, I sat in complete silence, a cup of hot coffee, my little dog by my side, and enjoying the cool freshness of a new day. Usually, I need some kind of "noise", and so the television goes on as soon as I awake, even if I am not watching. But on this Holy Saturday, I needed only the silence. I needed only to hear the birds twittering as they flew from tree to tree, the mourning dove sing her solemn song. I needed only to watch the yet-bare branches waving in the early morning breeze outside my window, and the sun emerge from a clouded sky. I needed only to contemplate Him who made all these things, and the historic and world-shaking events which had transpired over a mere few days some 2000 years ago.

Holy Saturday has always been this way for me, even as a child; and we followed this same tradition with our children. I remember being taught to do "quiet things" from Good Friday afternoon until Easter, as we (even in our youthful minds) prepared for the Resurrection, as we gave due respect and honor to God. We may not have understood fully--lack of understanding does not  imply untruth--but there was no need. There is no need. Such is the way with matters of the heart.

Tonight, we will attend the Resurrection services, Liturgy and blessing of Easter baskets as is our tradition (in the Byzantine Catholic Faith), as I have done every Holy Saturday of my life. The services will continue into the small hours of Easter Sunday morning, after which we will share the blessed foods from which we have fasted with our family, in Celebration of the Resurrection. It is these practices which keep me sane in an insane world. It is these celebrations that give my life meaning where, otherwise, I am at a loss to find meaning. It is these traditions that make me whole, bring to me the peace I cannot find elsewhere. It is this faith and this belief in a loving God which makes life beautiful and worth living, as we await the eternal glory promised by God, in Christ Jesus who prepared the way for us to follow .

May Christ crucified touch each of you in a most special way this day, this Easter season; and May God bless us all with an increased faith, wisdom to know Truth and the desire and courage to live it.

(photos: St. John Chrysostom Byzantine Catholic Church; Columbus, Ohio; Good Friday April 2, 2010)

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