When I have had the privilege of spending time with someone who is dying, it has brought me to what the Celts call “a thin place.” It’s an intense time of heightened everything. It’s painful, but also puts me in touch with what is most important, and also with the sense that the veil between the worlds, however we imagine that, is porous. There is not much separating here from there, or me from God and from my beloveds who have died. My experiences of being part of the dying process of close friends or family members has felt like a precious, albeit difficult, gift.
But when the person is actually gone, when their body is taken away, something changes. It’s disorienting. I don’t know what to do with myself, or with all the energy that was focused on being with dying. It’s part of grief, but it’s not just sadness, although it is that. It feels a little crazy.
This, I think, is where we are on Holy Saturday. Jesus is dead, his body laid in a borrowed tomb. We know by faith the rest of the story, but on this day we do well not to get ahead of ourselves. Rather, we hang out in the not knowing, and the emptiness. It’s the Sabbath, and God meets us there, in what feels like nothingness, no-place, no-hope. God invites us to rest in the divine, spacious darkness.
Saturday, March 26, 2016
1 Peter 4:1-8