Today’s Word: ‘Silence’ as in… the Saturday between Good Friday and Resurrection Day has, for me, always been characterized by silence, sheer silence.
Between the Passover meal with Jesus’ disciples on Thursday, the violence of crucifixion on Friday and the ‘what-word-in-any-language-could-capture-the-power-and-beauty’ of “The First Day of the Week’, it’s always been silent.
All winter long I’ve made the same meandering walk each morning with Shelbui The Wonder Dog. Out into the snow and cold, past the deck, along the garden, up into the wooded area with the sumac, cotton, apple and birch trees, to the far edge of our property so that Shelbui can “do her business.” At some point in all of that, I pause and intentionally take note of the branches and limbs that are about eye-level. I really look at them, I study them, noticing the tips of branches, sometimes reaching out and feeling the twigs, or tracing the cold bark.
Words come to mind:
Winter’s icy grip on everything … Silent.
Holy Saturday is like that for me: silent, like winter. But more than a few times, standing out there with Shelbui, I let my imagination go and think about all that was going on deep in the DNA of those twigs, limbs, branches, trucks and roots. There is life in there! Deep within the trees there is momentum, and along with the momentum, anticipation! Because we know that just because we cannot see it, doesn’t mean that life isn’t stirring!
In the ancient Hebrew scriptures (1 Kings 19), Elijah’s life feels like winter. He’s terror-filled about his future. But God speaks to him – not in a powerful wind that rips through the mountains, not in an earthquake that shakes the ground, not in a fire that erases a hillside. God speaks to him in “a gentle whisper.” In the original language: “sheer silence.”
A still small voice speaks with words of comfort and promise. That’s a lot like Holy Saturday. Sheer silence.
It’s the kind of silence that lets you know something is coming.