The Day After

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I lied in my 250th post below. I do have something with content worthy of being my 250th post, but I didn't write it, so I decided to keep it separate. I haven't had a lot of Easter-related stuff here, and this helps remedy that. It also ties together my current focus on things Kerry Livgren (whose new album with Proto-KAW still hasn't arrived) with the events we remember during what we call Holy Week (not that any period of time is really more or less holy than any other).

My friend Michael Brooks (whom I've never met in person but is someone I consider a friend nonetheless) wrote the following and sent it to some of the music discussion lists we both participate in:

The Gospels offer extremely detailed accounts of the events of Jesus' arrest, trial, condemnation, crucifixion and burial, as well as of his resurrection appearances to his followers on that first Sunday and in the days and weeks that followed, but they are practically silent about the Sabbath following the crucifixion. It is true that Matthew's Gospel details the Sabbath mechinations of the Jewish authorities to prevent the theft of Jesus' body from the tomb, but as far as Jesus' friends are concerned, Matthew, Mark and John are utterly silent regarding their Sabbath activities. Only Luke gives us the barest of descriptions: "On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment" (Luke 23:56b).

Half a verse.

Yet I wonder as I ponder the brevity and the gravity of these words. For Jesus' disciples and friends, the Sabbath had long been a day of joyful worship in Jesus' presence. His teachings and explanations of the Scriptures had been the touchstone of their understanding of God, of Jesus, of themselves and of their place in the world. He was their teacher. He was their Lord. He was their friend.

And now he was gone.

I imagine how that Sabbath dawned for the disciples, in their shock and grief over how quickly and completely their world had fallen apart. The stark reality of its collapse was inescapable: Jesus' betrayal by one of their own, whom they had trusted as one of them, their own laziness and cowardice at the moment of Jesus' arrest, their faithlessness as their Lord was falsely accused, condemned and killed by those who hated him... and Peter. He to whom Jesus had promised the keys of the kingdom, he whom the others had trusted as Jesus' right-hand man, he who had sworn to die with his Lord... had wilted in fear before the accusing word of a servant-girl, denying that he even knew the one whom he had called Master.

I imagine how that day dawned for them all... a day that should have been a day of joy and worship in the freedom of the Passover instead dawned as a day of mourning and grief, of self-recrimination and doubt, of confusion and uncertainty, when everything they had believed had been suddenly and utterly dashed to bits, a day when they awoke from a nightmare only to find that the nightmare was all there was... a day when all that they had dared to hope and dream came crashing down against the cold, undeniable fact that their Lord had died... and God with him, for all they knew... for all they could see... for all their could hope.

It must have been the darkest day of their lives.

Black Sabbath.

The End.

And yet I wonder at how this day is practically absent from the Gospels. Can it be that the Gospel writers considered that this day simply didn't matter, that in the light of the joy of Jesus' resurrection on the following day this Sabbath of sorrow was simply "marking time" between Friday's sunset and Sunday's sunrise? Can it really be that the Gospel writers considered that the desolation of this day was but a momentary sadness of no lasting significance?

Perhaps...

Or perhaps the sorrow of this blackest of Sabbaths was simply unspeakable... inexpressible... incommunicable... approachable only in groanings too deep for words.

And yet, this side of eternity, words, mere words, are all that we have to speak the unspeakable... to express the inexpressible... to communicate the incommunicable...

Mere words...

...and music...

High-speed: http://datamanos2.com/euaggelion/sabbath.html
Dial-up: http://datamanos2.com/euaggelionlbw/sabbath.html

The whole site is really well done and covers the life of Jesus with various music from Kerry Livgren projects (including Kansas and the new Proto-KAW album that I still don't have) accompanying beautiful graphics alongside the song lyrics of each song. To start at the beginning go here.

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