We’re almost at Easter!
But, not yet.
We have one more day to go.
… the precipice between
yesterday’s tragedy of Good Friday and
tomorrow’s triumph of Easter Sunday.
Holy Saturday might be likened to a “Morning-After” situation.
The “Morning-After” when the worst thing that could possibly have happened, happened. Like …
~ When you received the devastating medical diagnosis
~ When you were fired
~ When you realized you had to self-isolate for 14 days because of COVID19 and couldn’t do your own shopping, get your hair cut, your nails done, play a couple of rounds of golf, visit your grandchildren/children/parents/grandchildren/friends
~ When your spouse confessed to cheating
~ When you were at a great party and woke up with a doozy of a headache and learned that you had driven your car the previous night and had injured or killed someone
~ When the nightmare of yesterday was real – your beloved spouse or child or parent died and you realize it actually happened and was not just a bad dream
~ When you discovered your dreams about a special job or school or retirement were shattered.
~ When you discovered a fire had ravaged your home and there was nothing left – no photos, no computer, no important documents, no clothes, no furniture, nothing
We likely all have a story we can relate to when we were beyond-beyond comprehension.
And if we can’t think of anything in the past, for many, living this COVID19 life, each day, is our ‘Morning-After’
… a time that is really difficult to see beyond the escalating virus and
… the day when our life came to a standstill.
Our Holy Saturday morning experience is similar to the disciples
when they couldn’t see beyond the tomb of Jesus,
when they couldn’t see beyond the reality of His crucifixion and death.
The Holy Saturday of long ago
and the Holy Saturday of today
So we wait.
We keep Vigil.
And sometime, between tonight’s sunset on Holy Saturday
and tomorrow’s sunrise on Easter Sunday,
we observe the Great Vigil of Easter.
The liturgy of the Great Vigil of Easter begins in darkness.
Then a fire is lit and symbolically brought into the sanctuary/home by a candle.
As the service of prayerful watching continues, Scripture is read, prayers are offered, the Exsultet is sung, holy Baptism or the Renewal of Baptismal vows happens and the first celebration of Holy Communion begins the glorious Season of Easter … with light throughout the room/sanctuary along with joyful music, colourful flowers, great smiles and the exuberant shouting of “Alleluia! Christ is Risen!” by all who are present.
A sense of unbridled joy fills hearts as the wilderness of Lent, the Cross, the empty tomb and the great passover moves us from death to life.
In these COVID19 days, when images of death fill the airwaves and people are confined to their homes to avoid contracting or spreading the virulent virus, and we can’t be with others to share the good news that “Christ is risen,” or our Jewish friends cannot be with their loved ones to celebrate Passover, what then?
Why not do what we did at 7:00 pm each night at the beginning of the pandemic — give thanks and celebrate our front line COVID19 workers who are staffing hospitals and ambulances, working in essential stores and truck and pharmacies and medical offices etc.?
Let’s sing out loud in our homes, our streets.
Let’s bang our pots and pans.
Let’s joyfully proclaim
Easter is here!
Passover is here!
The Great Vigil of Easter is over!
We are not alone.
We WILL get through this pandemic and its virulent strains
Hope is alive.
“Alleluia! Christ is Risen.
He is risen, indeed!“
© June Maffin
We’re almost at Easter!