Holy Saturday: Between Despair and Hope

excuse the inconvenienceToday is Holy Saturday, a space between despair and hope, between death and resurrection.

This in-between time is an analogy for where we are as a species at this critical time in the history of life on earth.  Will we preserve and pass on the wealth of nature and culture to future generations, or will they inherit a wasteland?  This is the primary spiritual issue of our time.

I know from personal experience how the power of God, at work in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, transforms hearts and lives.  But for those of us who see the earth dying and hear the cries of suffering humanity, personal transformation is not enough. We long for major social change, change that shakes the foundations and turns the world upside down. We long for a new community, for the “upside down kingdom” that Jesus initiated, where the hungry will be fed, the naked clothed, the oppressed set free, and slaves released. We hear the groans of the earth, and we ourselves groan inwardly, in labor for the day when the whole creation is set free from bondage (Rom. 8:21). We long for the transformation of the world.

I am a follower of Christ.  With Paul I can say, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:19b-20).

I am also a member of the human race and of the wider community of life.  I share in the suffering of my fellow creatures.  I share in the “passion” of the earth.

The fact is, we really don’t know how this human journey on earth will turn out.  According to theologian Jurgen Moltmann, we cannot know:  “Will humanity survive the crises we have described? We cannot know, and we must not know. If we knew that humanity is not going to survive, we should not do anything more for our children but would say, `after us, the deluge.’ If we knew that humanity is going to survive, we should not do anything either, and by doing nothing we should miss our chance for conversion. Because we cannot know whether humanity is going to survive or not, we have to act today as if the future of the whole of humankind were dependent on us—and yet at the same time trust wholly that God is faithful to his creation and will not let it go.”

On this Holy Saturday,  I choose to live in hope, entrusting myself, my loved ones, and future generations to the God who raised Jesus and who lives in me.  I choose to rest in the silence and stillness and spaciousness of God.

One thought on “Holy Saturday: Between Despair and Hope

  1. John Wesley, in his sermon on the Great Deliverance, (Sermon 60) reminds us that God intends to restore all of creation. Thanks for your blogs, Sharon. This one reminded me of Wesley.

    “7. If it be objected to all this, (as very probably it will,) “But of what use will those creatures be in that future state?” I answer this by another question, What use are they of now? If there be (as has commonly been supposed) eight thousand species of insects, who is able to inform us of what use seven thousand of them are? If there are four thousand species of fishes, who can tell us of what use are more than three thousand of them? If there are six hundred sorts of birds, who can tell of what use five hundred of those species are? If there be four hundred sorts of beasts, to what use do three hundred of them serve? Consider this; consider how little we know of even the present designs of God; and then you will not wonder that we know still less of what he designs to do in the new heavens and the new earth.

    8. “But what end does it answer to dwell upon this subject, which we so imperfectly understand?” To consider so much as we do understand, so much as God has been pleased to reveal to us, may answer that excellent end — to illustrate that mercy of God which “is over all his works.” And it may exceedingly confirm our belief that, much more, he “is loving to every man.” For how well may we urge our Lord’s words, “Are not ye much better than they?” If, then, the Lord takes such care of the fowls of the air, and of the beasts of the field, shall he not much more take care of you, creatures of a nobler order? If “the Lord will save,” as the inspired writer affirms, “both man and beast,” in their several degrees, surely “the children of men may put their trust under the shadow of his wings!”

    9. May it not answer another end; namely, furnish us with a full answer to a plausible objection against the justice of God, in suffering numberless creatures that never had sinned to be so severely punished? They could not sin, for they were not moral agents. Yet how severely do they suffer! — yea, many of them, beasts of burden in particular, almost the whole time of their abode on earth; So that they can have no retribution here below. But the objection vanishes away, if we consider that something better remains after death for these poor creatures also; that these, likewise, shall one day be delivered from this bondage of corruption, and shall then receive an ample amends for all their present sufferings.”

    Happy Easter, Christ is alive!

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