Saturday, March 22, 2008

God Sleeps in the Womb of the Earth

Yesterday Christ died. He said "It is finished," and He gave up His spirit. The great Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Alpha and the Omega, the Morning Star was Himself extinguished by the Darkness.

So now we wait, and weep, and wonder. Has Death won? Is faith just a futile attempt to hold off the inevitable night, like a match lit for a brief moment, surrounded by impenetrable shadow, for a few seconds of illumination, until all is night? We wonder if there's more. We wait, we watch, like Mary by the tomb.

I see her sitting there, still stunned by the events of that Dark Friday, a whole cut into her heart, scraped clean. Open hands, cupped, lying on her lap, still breathing out the sweet smell of myrhh and oils from the Jewish burial custom. She stares blankly over the distance between the shade of an olive tree and the Roman guards moving about their watch, mumbling in a language she doesn't know. She is there keeping vigil, but she is not there. She is nowhere, she is no one. Her thoughts can only find rest on a few random phrases of His, like a bird alighting on swaying reeds.

"Destroy this temple.... And I will raise it up."
"Just as the seed falls to the earth and dies, so must the Son of Man...."
"I am the Resurrection and the Life..."

But then the winds of memory and sorrow and unspeakable torture blow through her mind again, and the bird of her heart must fly away, for this wind is too strong. After all, she saw His broken body, washed those wounds with His Mother. She saw the marks, the gaping hole in His chest. "It is finished," she whispers to the wind. And her tears drop into the dusty earth.

But Holy Saturday is a day pregnant with possibility....

"Just as the seed falls to the earth and dies, so must the Son of Man...."

Yesterday, Words that can remake the world were spoken, dropped from the mouth of Jesus like seeds full of paradoxical promise. They were spoken the night before as well, at a supper His heart longed to celebrate. These Words convey to the human heart the very secret of human life, the way to the truth of who we are and what we can become. These Words and only these Words, like a magic spell, can rebuild the shattered Dream of Eden, and create a Civilization of Life and Love. These Words have unspeakable power in them.

"This is My Body, given up for you.... Take and eat, take and drink."

To the barren fields of fallen man, the God-Man has given His body as grain. To the earth that has shared in our sorrow, drink. Where thorns and thistles grew now the seed in the blood of Jesus flows. In the dark womb of the earth, He lies broken, sleeps, and germinates, sending out the small, green shoots of promise...And with Mary, we watch and wait for Morning.

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