Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sermon: Holy Saturday: We Wait.

Image result for holy saturday imageSermon for April 4, 2015
Holy Saturday BCP 283
The Rev. Vicki K. Hesse
St. Philip’s In The Hills, Tucson, AZ
Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24, Psalm 33: 1-5
1 Peter 4:1-8, Matthew 27:57-66

In the name of the Holy One. Amen.

Waiting. It’s not something that we do, as a society, very well. 
Waiting. It means to “do nothing, expecting something to happen.”
Waiting. In the French language, the word is “attendre” or “to attend to.”
In other words, it is an active verb.  But in our society, we don’t see it that way.
Waiting feels like a waste of time, and we sure are insistent that we use our time effectively.
Waiting. Our collect of the day invites us, “… to await with him the coming of the third day…”

Yesterday, Good Friday, Jesus was crucified and died. Joseph, at least, had the decency to ask for Jesus’ body, which he took, and wrapped in linen cloth and laid in his own new tomb. Then after he placed the body in the tomb, he rolled a great stone to the door and went away.

Joseph went away.

Joseph’s careful and caring actions
to Jesus’ body
are seen as pious acts, reverent and kind.

Then he went away.

I wonder what about us, what do we do, this day?
Yesterday, Good Friday, Jesus was crucified and died.
·        We saw him hanging there through the 148 students killed in Kenya for being Christian
·        We saw him hanging there, being mocked by Boko Haram who claim the hashtag did nothing to #BringBackOurGirls
·        We saw him hanging there, crying out for justice with those who continue to be denied equal rights.

We took his body off the cross, gently, reverently,
·        and wrapped it in prayers for peace between nations, between tribes, between families and in our hearts
·        and wrapped it compassion in place of resentment for those “evil doers”
·        and wrapped it linen cloth of hope, woven for just this day, as the soft flesh of his corpse draped over our serving arms

We experienced Good Friday and laid Jesus in our own new tomb.

So now do we just go away?

God, Jesus’ heavenly Father, waited. 

God “attended to” Jesus in the “fullness of time” – that phrase which Jesus kept repeating
 – to hear God’s will for him and in the fullness of time to make all things new.

God waited for Jesus.  And God waits for us. 
God attended to Jesus And God attends to us.

God rested in this Sabbath with Jesus.
God rests with us, in our in-between lives,
in our indecisions,
in our half-hearted prayers,
in our doubting affirmations. 

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary
sat opposite the tomb.
They did not go away. They waited.
They did nothing. Elles attendant.  
They attended to.

Welsh poet RS Thomas
offers this poem, appropriate for today:[1]

Moments of great calm,
Kneeling before an altar
Of wood in a stone church
In summer, waiting for the God

To speak; the air a staircase
For silence; the sun’s light
Ringing me, as though I acted
A great role. And the audiences
Still; all that close throng
Of spirits waiting, as I,
For the message.
   Prompt me, God;
But not yet. When I speak,
Though it be you who speak
Through me, something is lost.
The meaning is in the waiting.

The meaning is in the waiting

Jesus is placed in a new tomb.
A great stone is placed to the door.
We do not go away.
We await the fullness of time.
We. Can. Not. Look. Away.
On attend.

We wait.

We wait.

We wait.


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