Christos Anesti! (Christ is risen)
Alithos Anesti!(truly He is risen)
Holy Saturday I attended the secular funeral of a friend. At the golf course. There could be no greater contrast between that gathering and the Easter Vigil.
At the memorial, a speaker assured the gathering that she was not religious when she said she had been ‘blessed’ to know my friend. Various people spoke and the consensus was that everyone hoped my friend was now “somewhere” reunited with her dog. There were no prayers–just a ‘moment of silence’. For what?
It was a stark contrast to the liturgies of Holy Week. The funeral seemed the perfect icon of Holy Saturday. The death on Good Friday is past; there is no resurrection on Saturday. It is a state of perpetual in-betweeness.
But what is this in-between for non-believers? What is the source of this deep need to want there to be more–even if it is just being together once more with a beloved pet? One mourner told a story of my friend going back to visit her grandmother’s house when she was an adult. The house had long since been sold to strangers and the grandmother was deceased. She knocked on the door and, to her delight, was warmly welcomed by strangers. They opened their home to her, let her go through the rooms and let her reconnect with those special grandma memories many of us are lucky to have.
Is this what we’re hoping for? The allure of “Grandma’s House?” Is this the best our unconverted hearts can come up with? Is the darkness so total that there is nowhere for the unshadowed light to be poured? Such darkness that there is not even awareness of eternity?
If old age isn’t for sissies, neither is Faith. There’s so much evidence against it. But on some level the soul is still hoping to return to Grandma’s house. What a conflicted prayer that would make. ” If you’re there, whoever you are, please let someone be there to open the door at Grandma’s.”
I think I’ve accepted a better offer. I like to think of Grandma’s house with no door–it’s already flung open–and it’s Jesus who will greet me and not a stranger. My room will be waiting. The words that began the Vigil stated it best.
Christ be our Light
Shine in our hearts
Shine in the darkness.
The Light of Christ!
Thanks be to God!
Only a few hours separated the memorial and the Vigil. I moved from the wine bar to the flame of the Baptismal candle and the greatest Promise ever made.