Saturday, March 22, 2008

Good Friday and Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday

One Easter Vigil many years ago, just before midnight, I stood at the baptismal font surrounded by candles, incense, clergy and a family.  The church was dark, and there was a mystical feel to the place, a feeling that something important was happening.  The death of the old life was giving way to the rebirth of a new.


On the faces of the inlaws, however, was shock and horror.  They stared wide-eyed at the thurifer, and the vestments, at the little font that was so unlike their Baptism pool where only full-emersion believers baptism was practiced.

At midnight, one said to the other, "I was waiting for the animals sacrifices to start up."

They did not appreciate the lateness of the service or the sense of mystery.  But I did.  Maybe it's because I was born just minutes after midnight.  Maybe it's because I get up every morning several hours before sunup so I can enjoy the quiet in those dark hours.

Maybe it's because it was in that strange dark interlude that is neither night nor day that Christ worked his own rebirth which tells us, "Christ is real.  God's love is real.  Whatever darkness we experience in this world will give way to God's light."

Tonight, I will once again enter into that mystery, lighting the new light, chanting by firelight, listening to the salvation story, waiting for and welcoming the birth of Christ and our own lives.  And as before, so now, it will be good.


Good Friday

Matthew 25:34-40 (American Standard Version)

 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 

 35 for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; 

 36 naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 

 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink? 

 38 And when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 

 39 And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 

 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me. 

When we meet our Maker, will Jesus tell us that we are blessed of the Father. How do feed the hungry, give drink, take in a stranger, cloth one, visit the sick or those in prison in the world today?