Those who have travelled the Christian journey for two thousand years know that the Easter Saturday Pause is a mere interlude between Good Friday lamentations and Easter Sunday celebration of raised life.
Prescience prevents us into entering the utter despair and hopelessness of those who experienced the first Easter. There was no expectation of dead Jesus’ resurrection even though he had provided his closest companions a heads up on several occasions. “What now?” would have been the big question emerging from the funk of overwhelming grief.
Something like the perpetual “Holy Saturday” that now has the whole world in its grip – the one called COVID-19. Will there be an Easter Sunday and, if so, when?
Let’s take a cue from the lived out Christian tradition which now confidently embraces Holy Saturday as a time for pause and reflection, trusting that a time for joyful celebration of union is next on the agenda.
Only four weeks ago Canning Highway in Perth was packed tight as thousands of fans commemorated Bon Jovi and AccaDacca’s “Highway to Hell” famous signature song vibrating from bands on a fleet of tray-top trucks as they rolled from Canning Bridge to Fremantle.
Four weeks later Perth’s highways are all but deserted as we self-isolate in a mass attempt to avert the worst effects of the Covid-19 corona virus.
Some would point to the “Highway to Hell” celebrations as a harbinger of doom, but Covid-19 was already well established in some pockets of the globe and well on its way here.
And now Palm Sunday is upon us. An occasion to reflect and reminisce on past Palm Sunday processions with Sunday School kids waving palms as they usher the congregation into services. Some brave churches even commandeer donkeys (well fasted!) to be ridden up the aisle of the sanctuary. The socially conscious rally outside city cathedrals to march for peace – taking their cue from the one who they named the Prince of Peace.
Perhaps only Jesus, the focus of the original procession, knew what a highway to hell he was travelling. A few short but long days of passion, betrayal, trial, abandonment, torture and suffering to beyond the point of death lay ahead – and he knew it. He had a purpose beyond our ken however – Christian scripture and tradition refer to the Harrowing of Hell performed by Christ between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. You can read about it here.