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Holy Saturday – A Reflection

April 8, 2023
Jesus is laid in the tomb… an outdoor Stations of the Cross at the Cathedral Basilica of St Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, New Mexico that we visited in 2018

On the Sabbath, the disciples would have gathered once more in the room where Jesus had broken bread with them 24-hours before. It would have been a day of mystery and terror for those who had gathered in the upper room. On that Sabbath day they must have felt lost and alone. Would the authorities come after them? Who would be the next to be executed. Would life ever return to normal? What was normal after the three-year transformative journey with Jesus?

Nearly two thousand years later, we can lose that sense of the unknown his followers experienced between Jesus’ burial and finding the empty tomb. Last night as our Good Friday worship service concluded, we left the sanctuary in silence. It was and still is difficult to put into words what Denise and I were feeling as we drove from the church back to our townhouse. All day today I have been thinking about Jesus’ followers and wondering how I would feel if I didn’t have the knowledge that Easter Sunday was coming. Yet that knowledge also challenges me to truly consider what the resurrection means in my own life as a Christ-follower.

In an Easter Sunday sermon that Thomas Merton gave at the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani he offered those gathered a challenge. He also offers the same challenge to me. To what work am I being called by Jesus and through Merton’s own reflections? Christ lives in us and leads us, through mutual encounter and commitment, into a new future which we build together for one an- other. That future is called the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is already established; the Kingdom is a present reality. But there is still work to be done. Christ calls us to work together in building his Kingdom. We cooperate with him in bringing it to perfection… His death and resurrection were the culminating battle in his fight to liberate us from all forms of tyranny, all forms of domination by anything or anyone except the Spirit, the Law of Love, the “purpose and grace” of God. (Thomas Merton – Easter Sermon)

When the ushers bring the offering forward during Sunday worship my prayer over the offering considers the work of the Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. Take these gifts and our lives and use them for the building of your kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. A kingdom of love, justice, mercy, and peace. That is my hope and that is my prayer every day as I seek to live into my calling as a faith leader and a follower of Christ.

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