High River United Church of High River, Alberta
        

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A Message to Connect - April 13, 2020

Grace & Peace to you! 

Here we are at Easter Monday. Easter actually runs for 50 days – right up until the celebration of Pentecost & the coming of the Holy Spirit.

But what a strange Easter it has been with this physical isolation and the unfolding of the coronavirus journey.

 For me, it doesn’t really feel as if Easter Monday has arrived. I feel as if I’m still back on Holy Saturday.   Holy Saturday – that in between time, nestled between Good Friday’s sorrow and Easter Sunday’s celebration.

I’ve always appreciated the energy of Holy Saturday.   Maybe it is because I  (Susan) was born on Holy Saturday (it happened in March in the year I was born).  It has been the spiritual practice in our family that we never plan anything such as family gatherings or kids’ activities for Good Friday or Holy Saturday.  We have always allowed it to be a quiet time, a reflective time, a time to be at home together.

 

The energy of Holy Saturday is an “already-but not yet” energy.

We know that Easter is coming – but it hasn’t yet arrived.

We must live one more day in the grief, in the unknown, in the ponderings about life and death.

 

The first disciples, the men and women close to Jesus, didn’t have the advantage we have – of knowing that Easter will come.  They lived that Holy Saturday, just waiting… waiting through the Sabbath day when no work was to be done,  so that they could go and properly attend to Jesus’ body on the day after Sabbath – on Sunday!

 

If I think of their feelings on that Saturday of waiting, I imagine bewilderment, shock, betrayal, confusion, devastation, denial, love – all of it woven together in grief, deep grief.  It is this understanding of what the disciples’ would have been feeling that first Holy Saturday that convinces me of the resurrection.

 

I’m not going to try to explain resurrection. But something so profound, so transformative, so life-giving happened on that Sunday, when Mary and the other women went to the tomb.

Resurrection – possibility – new life – new hope – all experienced in the presence of Jesus with them once again.  I don’t know how to explain Jesus’ presence on that first Easter or in the 50 days following.

 

What we do know is that it transformed the lives of the disciples and took them from hiding in fear behind closed doors, to preaching the gospel with energy and passion.   That is why we are here, some 2,000 years later, still celebrating and sharing the story of Jesus.

Amazing! Profound!

 

But this year, we are living that Holy Saturday energy much longer – that “already-but not yet” energy.   

There will be a time when our lives are no longer shaped by COVID-19 and the physical restrictions.

There will be a time when there are less unknowns and less alarm.

There will be a time when life, even if changed by these circumstances, will feel more normal and natural again.

We know that the time beyond COVID-19 will come – but not yet!

 

For now, we live Holy Saturday.

I think I appreciate Holy Saturday because it is a real time. It reflects what life is like – sorrow and joy, triumphs and tragedies all woven together.

There will always be in-between times in our lives, times when there is more bewilderment than certainty, more emptiness than possibility, more sadness than joy.

That’s the time in which we find ourselves right now.

I find myself at times feeling fairly normal as I go about my activities at home. I know I can handle this. Then, just moments later, I can have the weight of the situation wash over me, leaving me feeling sad, tired, bewildered, and just wanting a break from it all.   And, then, after a cup of tea and some time sewing or reading, I’m settled and ready again.

 

For now, we continue that Holy Saturday time, a strange, in-between time, filled with so many unknowns.   But we also know that Easter is always awaiting. Joy will come. Possibility will arrive. New life will abound.  It will come!

 

So a blessed Easter season to each of you! Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, and the fifty days of Easter – all woven together!

 

I highly recommend listening to astronaut, Chris Hadfield, and his wisdom for coping with this time of physical isolation.  He suggests seeing our households as crews on an space expedition, where we all have a common purpose. Good viewing for the whole family!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do-N45kevoE

 

With all of our love and blessings,

Rev. Susan & Rev. David

High River United Church – a community of help, home & hope

 "Just to be is a blessing; just to live is holy.”  A. Heschel


 

 


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123 MacLeod Trail S.W. High River, Alberta.

(403) 652-3168

office@highriverunitedchurch.org

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