This year Holy Saturday came earlier…and is lasting longer
At Christian Century, Richard Lischer wonders, in these days of Covid-19, if we’ve been transported to Holy Saturday. Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, is the day the disciples withdrew and wondered and waited.
But for what? They had no idea.
Nor do we.
The Gospels say little about the disciples’ behavior on Holy Saturday. We can only imagine. It was a day of rest. They were required to rest. What preparations the women made must have been done furtively.
In the world of the coronavirus, we are also waiting. But waiting for what? When the women came to the tomb in the gray morning, they came not with high hopes but with their world’s version of embalming fluid. In Hebrew, the verbs “wait” and “hope” can be rendered by the same word. But in a time of contagion, our waiting does not appear to be enriched by hope any more than theirs was.
Our waiting has an intransitive feel. “For what?” is hard to answer. For it to be over. For those who are sick to recover. For a magically resurrected economy. For school to start and the multiplex to open. For baseball. For a paycheck once again. Waiting to get back to where we were—which for many of us wasn’t a good place to begin with. The people who clean hotel rooms, who work at Macy’s or the shop down the block, whose husbands or wives have died and remain unburied, who live in prisons, who are hoping for a bed in the ICU—what are they waiting for?
But waiting, like hoping, demands an object. We are waiting for a solution to the inexplicable. We are waiting for deliverance from our vulnerability to nature, of course—and from death—but even more from our vulnerability to the self-interest, lying, hoarding, and venality that make the pandemic even worse. Which is to say, we want to be delivered from ourselves.
An unwelcome Sabbath.
Nothing we could do to fix things anyway.
We hide. We are sad. We are anxious. We’re confused.
Things have changed, maybe forever.
More questions than answers.
What will tomorrow bring?