Friday, May 13, 2011

A Holy Saturday Collage (not just for Holy Saturday)

collage |kəˈlä zh; kô-; kō-|
noun. a combination or collection of various things.
Of late I have been working through Wilfrid Stinissen’s little book, Into Your Hands: Abandoning Ourselves to the God Who Loves Us.  

Stinissen believes the motif of abandonment to GOD is the central organizing idea encompassing all of the spiritual life of the Christian believer. 
So far, I would describe this reading experience as deeply moving and utterly challenging. Here’s what I mean. Listen to his first sentence: “A problem people have today is that they no longer recognize God’s will in everything that happens.”
I am afraid I'm one of those people he is describing. 
As a pastor, I often see people in the raw and life within the context of brokenness. I see a woman experiencing her second Mother’s Day without her six-year old daughter; I see a widow walking through her first Mother’s Day without her spouse; I see a woman outside, leaning against the church wall, drunk and retching.
I would not presume to argue with Fr. Stinissen, I only mean to say, in all sincerity, I am not there yet; I haven’t arrived at the point of abandonment. For me, the cry of dereliction is the response to abandonment, not “Thou will be done.”
Anyway, Stinissen caused me to begin thinking about the challenge of living in the in-between time of  Holy Saturday, the time between death and life. And this caused me to gather random thoughts that somehow came together in a collage.

The Christian Century (5.3.11) reviewed The Future of Christian Theology, by David F. Ford. In this his review Jason Byassee “tells of Hans Urs von Balthasar's threefold dramatic schema for doing theology: 
EPIC: Theology can be conducted as epic, in which it knows all the answers and is ‘impatient with ambiguity.’ 
LYRIC: It can be conducted as lyric, in which all truth is subjective and romantic and is conducted at the level of feelings. 
DRAMA: Or it can be conducted as drama, in which characters are genuinely open to one another, the outcome is undetermined, and all are alert to the divine Author.”
It seems to me that HOLY Saturday demands a theology of drama 
The same Christian Century issue mentioned the book, Spirit and Trauma: A Theology of Remaining, by Shelly Rambo
The product description on Amazon reads: “Rambo draws on contemporary studies in trauma to rethink a central claim of the Christian faith: that new life arises from death. Reexamining the narrative of the death and resurrection of Jesus from the middle day-liturgically named as Holy Saturday-she seeks a theology that addresses the experience of living in the aftermath of trauma. Through a reinterpretation of "remaining" in the Johannine Gospel, she proposes a new theology of the Spirit that challenges traditional conceptions of redemption. Offered, in its place, is a vision of the Spirit's witness from within the depths of human suffering to the persistence of divine love."

This reminded me of perhaps the most definitive work on HOLY Saturday, Between Cross and Resurrection: A Theology of Holy Saturday by Alan Lewis. I am reminded every time I see the book how Lewis experienced his own HOLY Saturday. While writing the book he was found with cancer and finally died from the disease.

Finally, Stinissen writes, “Do you feel anxious, dry, powerless, or sad? ‘That very suspense and desolation,’ writes Jean Pierre de Caussade, ‘are verses in the canticle of darkness. It is a joy that not a single syllable is left out, and it all ends in a Gloria Patri’;  therefore we pursue the way of our wanderings, and darkness itself is a light for our guidance; and doubts are our best assurance.”
If this is true, then maybe we’ll be alright.