Friday, April 6, 2012

Dead Saturday

To experience The Brink of Easter....
     We MUST live through Dead Saturday.

For the church—the body of believers—the fellowship of Christians, the days of Easter marched by……        
            On “Ash” Wednesday, the 40-day journey to the cross began.
            On “Maundy” Thursday, Jesus prepared the table for us and washed the feet of his disciples.
    Even the feet of Judas.
            On “Good” Friday, Jesus hung on the cross.
Now. Today is Saturday.

Today is “that” Saturday.
The one without a special name.
The in-between Saturday.
The nothing Saturday.
The DEAD Saturday

I've never liked the unknown of waiting.

But today I wait.

The work on the Cross is finished.
The huge curtain in the temple is split… from top to bottom.
Jesus is buried.
The work in the grave is silent.

To me, this Dead-Saturday should be dark and gloomy and rainy and dreary.

And silent.

That’s how my soul feels.

Yet, on this Dead-Saturday in Texas the weather is bright, sunny, and warm.

Still, though, the cross down by our road stands empty.

I had no energy to dig out the black sack-cloth to cover the cross for this dead Saturday, but I ripped up the long, black, satin shroud that once draped over the cross on “Good” Friday and on Black Saturday. About three o’clock this afternoon of “Good Friday,” I draped the crosses around our home. I draped the few Nativities I keep out all year.

It is an exercise to keep my mind focused; to remember what it must have been like for the women who followed Jesus through his ministry,heard his preaching, listened to his teaching, saw his miracles. That Saturday, those women, all those followers hid because thier master was dead.

Today and tomorrow I busily prepare our home for Easter guests…cleaning, dusting, setting out fresh towels… and I work in the kitchen… stirring, simmering, and chopping… preparing for family to gather around my table on Easter Sunday. It is easy to get stay in today’s reality…. food, family, relationship, laughter, wedding planning, graduation, lamb cake, a house filled with things of the heart.

Those are good things. … gifts of our Abba Father…. things we hold dear… that are meaningful… healing. These are things God gave me to do. He gave me a special family with special needs at a special time late in my life. He asked me to feed these few children of His. He asked me to be patient, generous with my time. He asked me to be about His business. And, yes, He asked me to be a Martha.

Even though He said Mary was wise. Sometimes, like on a dead Saturday, all my wires get crossed, my missions tangle up with each other, my body grows tired, my spirit is faint.

The Lamb of God today lies dead and buried in the tomb.

This Saturday is dead.

BUT... I will watch. I will wait. Surely.... surely.... Resurrection Sunday WILL come.
The final Resurrection Day WILL come.

Fresh air will arrive.
Words will return.
Sleep will come.
Rain will fall.
Waiting is hard.

Hurry, Easter!

Your servant,  Liz, waits, Lord.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

On the Brink of Easter


Spring exploded in the Texas Hill Country this year. After several years of deathly droughts, rain has come. We bombarded heaven with our thanksgiving for the clean air (even if it is filled with pollens that clog our noses, throats, heads, and chests) and we praised God, loudly, for all the days of cloudy skies and for every drop of every sprinkle, drizzle, and mist, we received. We stood on our porches and applauded the rains, and downpours. God blessed and watered our land.

Here comes one storm that brought us over two inches of delicious rain.
When the sun came out, for the first time in about three years lo and behold our city lots, country roads, and busy highways were dotted with patches of brilliant bluebonnets and other Texas wild flowers. I got so excited about Spring that I baked my first-ever lamb cake.

Made from my Grandmother Alice's cast iron mold. Thanks, Jan, for loaning it to me for awhile.
But, regardless of all the budding life around us, the week before Easter does come and must be reckoned with. It saddens me that when Lent begins, I can no longer climb up on a ladder and hang a purple drape on the 15-foot cross that stands at the road by our fence. So, in recent years, our dining room buffet holds the reminder of the meaning of Easter.

This favorite "Nativity" of mine celebrates our Christmas every year and then
comes back out at Easter to remind us that from birth, Jesus headed to the cross

There was plenty to do as spring got underway. The skies cleared, the sun came out, and the temperatures hit 90 the first week of April.  !!!

My Laura Bush petunias pushed up through the rocks to show their reminder of Easter.
The next thing we knew, kids were wearing shorts and trying out for baseball and many of us old ladies quickly exchanged jeans and sweats for cool, comfy, and colorful capri pants. Dear Heart even took me to lunch today... downtown.... on Main Street... and we chose an outdoor table.

But, tonight, as is my custom on the eve of Maundy Thursday, I covered the cross in our dining room with black. My mood darkens. I think. I read again the promises.


Tomorrow as I run errands and clean house, I will ponder on many things. I will slow my steps and dwell on the dark days that went before the first Easter Sunday. Tomorrow night I will gather with others at church and we will be reminded to find ways to wash the feet of other saints and fellow servants. Then, following the command of Jesus, we will drink from the cup and eat the bread and remember His lessons. We will leave church, hopeful but confused.

Friday night, we will return, worried, afraid, sad, and more confused to a darkened, stark, cross-less, church. The death bell will sound... long... and deep.... and dark. The rumors are true. Jesus is dead. The promises are empty.

Saturday, I will wander aimlessly and mourn and grieve and wonder..........

Please join me on Sunday..... for the beginning of our journey.