Holy Saturday: Stations XIII and XIV

Malcolm Guite

https://lanciaesmith.com

Holy Saturday is a strange, still day, hanging in an unresolved poise between the darkness of the day before and the light that is not yet with us. No more so than now, in the preternatural stillness emptiness and grief of this pandemic, when life is paused, but also perhaps poised on the threshold of the new.

When I wrote the two ‘stations’ sonnets I am posting today I was conscious of how these great Christian festivals, especially Easter and Christmas, draw up and carry with them some of our deepest family memories. If we are going to remember and miss someone we have loved and lost, we will do it now. So in the second sonnet I have moved from a contemplation of the women bearing spices and wishing they could at least anoint the one they miss, to focus on the many people who will visit graves and…

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Royalty

Royalty

He was a plain man
and learned no latin.

Having left all gold behind
he dealt out peace
to all us wild ones
and the weather.

He ate fish, bread,
country wine and God’s will.

Dust sandaled his feet.

He wore purple only once
and that was an irony.

                                                               –Luci Shaw

Before His hands were bound

A profound meditation from Amy Carmichael:

The last thing He did before His hands were bound.

And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer you thus far. And He touched his ear and healed him. (Luke 22. 50, 51)

Then the band and the captain and the officers of the Jews took Jesus and bound Him. (John 18.12)

The last thing the Lord Jesus did before His hands were bound, was to heal.

Have you asked yourself, If I knew this was the last thing I should do, what would I do?  I have never found the answer to that question. There are so very, very many things that would want to do for those whom we love, that I do not think we are likely to be able to find the chief one of all these. So the best thing is just to go on simply, doing each thing as it comes as well as we can.

Our Lord Jesus spent much time in healing sick people, and in the natural course of events it happened that the last thing He did with His kind hands was to heal a bad cut. (I wonder how they could have the heart to bind His hands after that.)

In this as in everything, He left us an example that we should follow in His steps.  Do the thing that this next minute, this next hour, brings you, faithfully and lovingly and patiently; and then the last thing you do, before power to do is taken from you (if that should be), will be only the continuation of all that went before.

He Does Not Leave Us Where We Are: Even Darkness Must Pass

Barnstorming

It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo.
The ones that really mattered.
Full of darkness and danger they were.
And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end…
because how could the end be happy?
How could the world go back to the way it was
when so much bad had happened?
But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow.
Even darkness must pass.
A new day will come.
And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you.
That meant something,
even if you were too small to understand why.
But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand.
I know now.
Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back,
only they didn’t.
They kept going, because they were holding on to something.
That there is some good in this world, and it’s worth…

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Let us not be afraid of the shadows.

Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.” (Ps 63.7)

“As the apple tree–or any beautiful tree–among the trees of the wood, so I, my Beloved among the sons, I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste.”  (Song of Songs 2.3)

“So there is joy and nourishment for our souls in the shadow of our Lord.  Sometimes we fear as we think of the shadow–‘They feared as they entered the cloud’ (Lk 9.34).” But after those three disciples had entered into the shadow of that cloud, they found it so wonderful that they wanted to stay there.  Let us not be afraid of the shadows.  Let us not be afraid of the clouds. We often meet Him in thick clouds. The shadow is the shadow of our Beloved. He is very near to the place where His shadow is.” (Amy Carmichael)

The trust of the unexplained

“I have been thinking of how many unexplained things there are in life. Our Lord Jesus who could have explained everything, explained nothing. He said there would be tribulation, but He never said why. Sometimes He spoke of suffering being to the glory of God, but He never said how. All through the Scriptures it is the same. I cannot recall a single explanation of trial. Can you? We are trusted with the Unexplained. May the Lord our God strengthen us all in every little call upon faith, as well as in every great call, so to live in patience and steadfastness, that the trial of our faith . . . may be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ, Whom having not seen, we love.” (Amy Carmichael)

Look for Him

Jesus & the woman at the well (2015_02_19 22_01_22 UTC).jpg

Thinking a lot this morning about the Samaritan woman who practiced social distancing every day–going to well at noonday when no one else was there.  Yet, here is Jesus meeting her at that exact time, coming to her, bringing Himself to her.  He desires to do the same for each of us, wherever we are in our isolation and sin.  Look for Him to come to you.