That’s just what I call it. My allergies kicked in last night just before the Taize service at church so I was pretty miserable. Trying to concentrate on anything spiritual, I sat in my seat and let the organ and the simple repetitions wash over me. My nose settled down finally and it ended up being a nice service.
This morning I walked for nearly an hour as the sun came up. I thought of Jesus on his day between lives. There’s a fair amount of argument about it. I Peter 3:19 alludes to him heading for hades to preach “to the ones in prison” but I’m not sure what that means. He told Mary that he “had not yet ascended to the Father” when she saw him Sunday morning, so many surmise he must not have been in Heaven. Where was he?
Another mystery, but what’s important to me about this day is that he was dead. Dead. Like we will all be dead one day. This is the human experience and he took it on. If we’d gone to the tomb that day, and rolled back the stone, there the body would have lain, crusted with cloth and spices, and if it were a twenty-first century event, we would have been able to go to the funeral home and seen him lying there in state. And we would have said, like I always do, “Nobody home.”
How dark is must have been for the disciples. How depressing, despairing, confusing. If I’d been there, I’d have said, “Bummer,” like I do after all off-the-chart tragedies. It’s not a flippant thing, its just what comes to mind. There are no words to encompass this loss. The earth today is without a king, without a lord, without a hand to clasp. At least that’s what the disciples must have felt. Where to go, what to do, what life will we lead now? The crowds won’t bother us anymore…that’s a plus. Maybe fishing’s next, maybe a return to collecting taxes, only with justice this time–there’s an honorable tribute to the missing Son of God. At least, we thought he was the Son of God. Guess not.
Rome is still here. Markets and sabbaths and weddings and long, dusty walks. Do Romans really kill people like that? Did I see what I saw? Is Jesus really gone? My God, the world is so different now. Will they arrest me? Will it be me next Friday, hanging there, in that kind of pain and humiliation? What I thought would be triumph, freedom, and power, is nothing but dust in my hands. It’s embarrassing, frankly. If I travel far enough–and I’ll start in the morning–I can be somewhere by nightfall where no one will remember that I walked with that carpenter from Galilee they killed last night.
But as they disciples staggered through the day, perhaps sequestered, mumbling at each other, too stunned to make any firm plans, they had to have smiled now and then. How could they not? When Andrew talked of the first great catch of fish, Peter must have smiled. Perhaps they even got a laugh going over all stories and the craziness of Peter walking on water that time. “Remember that? I was such an idiot taking off out there. What a trip, though. Ridiculous.” And then that silence falling over them again, broken only by the soft crying of a man finally caving in to his grief.
And then to sleep that night, Sabbath over. What’s tomorrow, they might have wondered. Time to get up and move, make something happen, move on. God, what a lousy day and world. Eyes heavy, someone thinks how dumb can a planet be, to murder the one hope they had.
Sleep. Just get through the dark…
Wait and see…