Friday, April 10, 2009

Holy and Great Saturday

Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.

I do not, as those who come here often know, interpret the prayer above in terms of attempts to get others to believe as I do. I do see it as expressing a vision of Jesus on the cross embracing all creation, including us at our worst and at our most broken. From my own stance, this is a vision of God--the Ultimate, the Source and Goal of all, the Ground of becoming, whatever term one prefers--embracing us, taking us and all into Godself. It is also a vision of humanity embracing a God just that vast, compassionate, and incomprehensible.

Yes, for me, the tradition of understanding the Christ as both human and divine works, is meaningful, and even necessary. I am Chalcedonian, but I don't think everyone must or should be.

It is all metaphor, mystery, and grace upon grace. I cannot limit it or define it or constrain it. I can receive it, rejoice in it, be formed by it, celebrate it, and trust it. I entrust myself and all sentient beings to it. I am also enough of a mystic to believe that all matter is sentient, and all matter is a manifestation of energy, so nothing is excluded.

On Holy and Great Saturday we come to a quiet place of stillness, of waiting in hope and dread, of standing empty, and seeking to follow Jesus into that dark emptiness, trusting God and refusing to give up on love.

While we wait a great upheaval takes place and hell is harrowed. We come to the end of all our striving and God is yet at work.
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. (Romans 8:11)

Ruhe sanfte, sanfte Ruh'!

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Und Joseph nahm den Leib und wickelte ihn in ein rein Leinwand und legte ihn in sein eigen neu Grab, welches er hatte lassen in einen Fels hauen, und wälzete einen großen Stein vor die Tür des Grabes und ging davon. Es war aber allda Maria Magdalena und die andere Maria, die satzten sich gegen das Grab. Des andern Tages, der da folget nach dem Rüsttage, kamen die Hohenpriester und Pharisäer sämtlich zu Pilato und sprachen:

Herr, wir haben gedacht, dass dieser Verführer sprach, da er noch lebete: Ich will nach dreien Tagen wieder auferstehen. Darum befiehl, dass man das Grab verwahre bis an den dritten Tag, auf dass nicht seine Jünger kommen und stehlen ihn und sagen zu dem Volk: Er ist auferstanden von den Toten, und werde der letzte Betrug ärger denn der erste!

Evangelist (T), Pilatus (B)
Pilatus sprach zu ihnen:
Da habt ihr die Hüter; gehet hin und verwahret's, wie ihr's wisset!
Sie gingen hin und verwahreten das Grab mit Hütern und versiegelten den Stein.

Nun ist der Herr zur Ruh gebracht.
Mein Jesu, gute Nacht!
Die Müh ist aus, die unsre Sünden ihm gemacht.
Mein Jesu, gute Nacht!
O selige Gebeine,
Seht, wie ich euch mit Buß und Reu beweine,
Dass euch mein Fall in solche Not gebracht!
Mein Jesu, gute Nacht!
Habt lebenslang
Vor euer Leiden tausend Dank,
Dass ihr mein Seelenheil so wert geacht'.
Mein Jesu, gute Nacht!

Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder
Und rufen dir im Grabe zu:
Ruhe sanfte, sanfte ruh!
Ruht, ihr ausgesognen Glieder!
Euer Grab und Leichenstein
Soll dem ängstlichen Gewissen
Ein bequemes Ruhekissen
Und der Seelen Ruhstatt sein.
Höchst vergnügt schlummern da die Augen ein.

66a.(76.) Evangelist (I: T)

And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a pure shroud of linen and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had had hewn within a rock, and rolled up a heavy stone in front of the door of this tomb and went away. In this place was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, who sat themselves next to the tomb. On the day after, the one after the Preparation, came the chief priests and the Pharisees together unto Pilate and said:
66b. Chief Priests and Pharisees (Chorus I, II)

Sire, we have taken thought how once this deceiver said when he was still alive: "I will in three days' time again stand here arisen." Therefore, command that now the tomb be guarded until the three days pass, so none of his disciples come forth and steal him hence and to the people say: "He is risen from the dead," for thus will the final deceit be worse than the first one!

66c. Evangelist, Pilate (I: T, B)

And Pilate said unto them:

Ye have your watchmen; go ye forth and secure it as best ye can!

So they went forth and made safe the tomb with watchmen and did seal in the stone.
67.(77.) Recit. (I: B, T, A, S; Chorus II) Zion, The Faithful

Now is the Lord brought to his rest.

My Jesus, now good night!

The toil is o'er which all our sins have laid on him.

My Jesus, now good night!

O thou, most blessed body,
See how I weep with grief and sorrow for thee,
That thee my fall to such distress hath brought!

My Jesus, now good night!

Have all my life
For thy great passion countless thanks,
That thou my spirit's health such worth did pay.

My Jesus, now good night!
68.(78.) Chorus(4) (Chorus I, II) Tutti

We lay ourselves with weeping prostrate
And cry to thee within the tomb:
Rest thou gently, gently rest!

Rest, O ye exhausted members!
This your tomb and this tombstone
Shall for ev'ry anguished conscience
Be a pillow of soft comfort
And the spirit's place of rest.
Most content, slumber here the eyes in rest.

--the BB


Grandmère Mimi said...

Beautiful, Paul. I'm skipping the Holy Saturday service. At the moment, I'm all churched out. What a lovely home meditation you've offered. Thank you.

But I'm greatly looking forward to tomorrow!

Paul said...

A very blessed Saturday and Easter to you, Mimi.

As a recovering Holy Week junkie, I did the Maundy Thursday service at the mission and have otherwise avoided church since Sunday. I also look forward to tomorrow.

Today is housecleaning and cooking.