Posts tagged Good Friday

Holy Saturday: Liminal Space, Suffering ,and the Meaning of the Cross

DSC_6693 Today is Holy Saturday, the day after Jesus was crucified, which means he was tortured and executed by the empire of his time, the Romans. He was killed, executed as an insurrectionist because he was a threat to the domination system of his time, the Roman occupiers and their religious collaborators (Temple authorities).

As Fr. Richard Rohr states in his Lenten devotional, Holy Saturday is a “liminal  space”, which he defines as “a crucial in-between time—when everything actually happens and yet nothing happens and yet nothing appears to be happening. It is the waiting period when the movement is made, the transformation takes place. One cannot just jump from Friday to Sunday in this case, there must be Saturday!”

With a two day meeting this week  in Chicago for Kairos USA, followed by a flight to Denver yesterday to visit our son and daughter-in-law and dear friends, I have not posted anything for Good Friday. I have been thinking of the great themes of life and, indeed of the Gospel: dying and rising, the meaning of the cross, and in particular, suffering. I have been thinking and reading on the various atonement theories, rejecting the penal, payment ,substitutionary, wrath-of-God approach.

I would like to approach these subjects in this blog in the future. This spring , at this time of warmth, and new life and resurrection, is particularly significant to Janie and I this year. It has been a long , cold hard winter both physically, and spiritually and psychologically for us. I have had three major surgeries in the past 6 1/2 months complicated by two episodes of C.Diff colonic infections and the subsequent G.I. sequela: a cervical fusion and artificial disc, and two total knees two months apart. My body is deconditioned , my mind has been disturbed by anxiety and worry and fear over real and perceived complications and continued pain; much self-created, self-inflicted, contrived, un-necessary suffering  And yet, as Fr.Richard teaches, in life we will have suffering and it is necessary, what he calls “the necessary stumbling stone.” So I have been trying to figure out what I am to learn from this “necessary suffering.” I would like to explore this subject  in the future using   Fr. Rohr’s teaching. Please see this brilliant Rohr devotional:

Stumbling and Falling
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sooner or later, if you are on any classic “spiritual schedule,” some event, person, death, idea, or relationship will enter your life that you simply cannot deal with, using your present skill set, your acquired knowledge, or your strong willpower. Spiritually speaking, you will be, you must be, led to the edge of your own private resources. At that point, you will stumble over a necessary stumbling stone, as Isaiah calls it (Isaiah 8:14). You will and you must “lose” at something. This is the only way that Life-Fate-God-Grace-Mystery can get you to change, let go of your egocentric preoccupations, and go on the further and larger journey.

We must stumble and fall, I am sorry to say. We must be out of the driver’s seat for a while, or we will never learn how to give up control to the Real Guide. It is the necessary pattern. Until we are led to the limits of our present game plan, and find it to be insufficient, we will not search out or find the real source, the deep well, or the constantly flowing stream. Alcoholics Anonymous calls it the Higher Power. Jesus calls this Ultimate Source the “living water” at the bottom of the well (John 4:10-14).

The Gospel was able to accept that life is tragic, but then graciously added that we can survive and will even grow from this tragedy. This is the great turnaround! It all depends on whether we are willing to see down as up; or as Jung put it, that “where you stumble and fall, there you find pure gold.” Lady Julian of Norwich said it even more poetically: “First there is the fall, and then we recover from the fall. Both are the mercy of God!”

Adapted from Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life,
pp. 58, 65-68

Here are a few brilliant postings on the meaning of the cross and Good Friday meditations to follow:

Continue reading Holy Saturday: Liminal Space, Suffering ,and the Meaning of the Cross