Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holy Saturday

It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. 
- Luke 23:55-56

I grew up in an Episcopal household with Catholic roots, and our home life was liturgical.  Things had a purpose, and a season, and a rhythm to them.  We decorated the house on December 5th in preparation for St. Nicholas Day.  A toy nativity was put in my hands and I was encouraged to tell, and re-tell, and re-re-tell the story of Jesus.  Easter meant tatalluches, an Italian-family cookie recipe, and meat pie, but it also meant we'd be at church for four days:  Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday.

Holy Saturday.  Not Easter Vigil, as we do in the Lutheran church, but Holy Saturday.  We would re-read the story of the Crucifixion, and we would remember.

One year, my mother and I cleaned the house on Holy Saturday.  And in my young mind, it was connected to the story.  The women went home and prepared spices and ointments -- because what else could be done?  The Messiah was dead.  They had to find something to do, a way to keep their hands occupied, in the face of the crushing heaviness of their hearts.  And so did we.  In the face of Good Friday, we cleaned, because the grief was too much to sit with.

I know now that the women rested, on Saturday, because it was the Sabbath.  But I did not know this, as a child, and to me the right and proper thing to do was clean.

Sometimes all that can be done is to tie back my hair and take up a towel, to fill my hands with something more than tears.  To wash and dust and scrub and clean, in the desperate and impossible hope that something new might tomorrow come to fill the well-swept house.

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body.
Luke 24:1-2

No comments:

Post a Comment