Procession symbolic of being in the tomb during the Pascha service last night at Holy Cross Orthodox Church. This is the first time I’ve observed Easter by staying up the night before. The service lasted until 3am and then we feasted together. It was a beautiful.

The following is an excerpt from a paper I wrote three years ago in grad school for the class: Beauty, Brokenness and the Cross: Atonement Theology Through the Arts. As we enter into the Triduum, I found it appropriate and necessary to revisit:

Easter Sunday. After having endured the nearly unbearable passions of Friday and the grief of abandonment on Saturday, Easter Sunday prevails as a day of resurrection. It is only because of the first two days that this last day is truly significant. However, this day came unexpectedly. It is quite obvious that more than a day is needed to grieve thereby the disciples were still battling the same discouragement as the day before. With this in mind, one should not be surprised from any disbelief portrayed by the disciples after learning of Christ’s supposed resurrection from the dead.

Unlike the previous two days, on this day, hope was restored. This day marked a change in the course of history. This day proved that Jesus was who He claimed to be; namely, He was God, their Messiah. Likewise, that God can be trusted. 

The beauty found within Easter Sunday is unquestionable. As a result of the resurrection, one can affirm the activity of God at work in each of the three days, even in the seeming abandonment of Saturday. Easter Sunday is beautiful because God has not failed humanity. Nor will he ever fail, for with the resurrection of Christ, new life is made available for all to participate in.  

~   John 19:41-42

The following is an excerpt from a paper I wrote three years ago in grad school for the class: Beauty, Brokenness and the Cross: Atonement Theology Through the Arts. As we enter into the Triduum, I found it appropriate and necessary to revisit:

Holy Saturday. The epitome of the dark night of the soul. If any day has ever hindered one’s spiritual journey towards a relationship with God, it was this day. This is the day after—the day when pain is felt the greatest. When walking along with someone on their journey towards an expected death, it seems as though the world stops. After death, the next day, is when one realizes that the world has continued moving. Reality sets in and life must resume. But no one wants to get out of bed on Holy Saturday, for it is here that grief and loneliness begin. While it is okay to acknowledge the end of the story, “we are also invited to read the story from the inside, from the perspective of those who live through the shadows of Friday and Saturday without knowing the ending, for whom the Friday is a catastrophic finale to the would-be Messiah’s life, a day devoid of victory, a day of shredded hopes, drained of goodness.” Partaking in the story in such a way as the disciples, who didn’t know if Sunday would even happen, is best if one fully wants to grasp the meaning of this Holy Saturday. 

Further, Lewis expresses the gravity of this day in declaring, “[that] we have not really listened to the gospel story of the cross and grave until we have construed this cold, dark Sabbath as the day of atheism.” Once again, it is only in knowing that Sunday comes that one can comprehend titling such day as “holy.” However, for the disciples, there was nothing about this day worthy of being considered holy. With Jesus of Nazareth dead, the liturgy became meaningless. The eucharist would not be consumed. If God was dead, to even pray seemed absurd. One can wonder if comfort was sought in the Psalms, “Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.”

With heavy hearts, those who loved Jesus most must now accept His death and acknowledge their pain. Both of which are necessary to begin the process of grieving. Chittister encourages, “[that] with or without our permission, with or without our understanding, eventually suffering comes. Then the question is only how to endure it, how to accept it, how to cope with it, how to turn it from dross to gleam.” The grief experienced on this day was not recorded, leaving the reader to assume that the biblical authors found the events (or lack thereof) on Holy Saturday unnecessary to document. Perhaps, however, “the nonevent of the second day could after all be a significant zeroa pregnant emptiness, a silent nothing which says everything.” 

May you allow yourself to enter into the particularity of each day—slowly, patiently, not rushing toward Easter Sunday—experiencing the pace and emotions of what each day may hold.

~   Hans Urs von Balthasar, Mysterium Paschale
When we all crave the same food.
04.18.14 /14:08/ 6

The following is an excerpt from a paper I wrote three years ago in grad school for the class: Beauty, Brokenness and the Cross: Atonement Theology Through the Arts. As we enter into the Triduum, I found it appropriate and necessary to revisit:

Good Friday. Aside from being the first day in the Triduum, within the narrative this day marks the end of the story of Jesus. Without knowledge of the end of the story, there seems to be nothing “good” about this day as the title claims. Quite opposite from being good, this was the day hope died. This day affirmed disbelief, for surely man could not murder God—or, could he? One can imagine the battle that took place within the minds of the people during that time. Either Jesus was not who He claimed, and many who followed Him for nothing were now facing ridicule; or, Jesus was God, but now God is dead. Contrast this with the fact that Jesus died feeling forsaken by God. How does one make sense of it all?

Fairly, Good Friday only makes sense in having knowledge of the end of the story. With an awareness of resurrection on Easter Sunday, one can understand why this day is properly titled “good.” Jürgen Moltmann observes that “the dying Jesus is not beautiful to behold.” However, in arguing for beauty, Walford points out that a “broken beauty can be a redemptive beauty, which acknowledges suffering while preserving hope.” Here, one can begin to understand the beauty, or good, associated with the death of Christ. His resurrection did not erase the suffering and abandonment He endured on the cross, rather, what He endured was necessary for resurrection to occur.

In light of having knowledge of the end of the story, Alan Lewis suggests:

We may misrepresent the pace of the biblical story, hurrying on to the end, impatient with its periods of slowness and waiting; we may silence some of its most painful and puzzling questions because we feel we already know its answers; we may ease its agonizing tensions through foreknowledge of their final relaxation. And in all of this we may suppress the very good news which the story holds for men and women who have to endure life slowly and patiently, who hear no answers to their own questions, or experience tensions with no guarantee of eventual resolution. 

May you allow yourself to enter into the particularity of each day—slowly, patiently, not rushing toward Easter Sunday—experiencing the pace and emotions of what each day may hold.

Canvas  by  andbamnan