There was a Sarah McLachlan album called “Fumbling Toward Ecstasy.” It has nothing really to do with the spiritual love spoken of in the Gospels, outside of some imagery, but it is an apt way to describe the day.
The city is bright today. The hearts of believers and those who celebrate in more secular fashion are bright. It is a peculiar feeling, knowing what is coming next and not quite there. At Dominick’s today displays of eggs, rolls, fancy appetizers, and hams. Florists all over town are loading lilies and spring flowers into trucks to deliver to congregations in yet another city of blinding lights. It is peculiar to see these things because we are not quite there, at least here in our Midwestern metropolis. I have to remind myself the celebration is already at hand in much of the world. In Palestine it is almost 6:30 in the evening.
“Soon and very soon,” a song by U2 says, “this hurt will hurt no more.” Like the McLachlan album, it is not about Holy Saturday, but the sentiment is appropriate. We are sitting on a very peculiar day. We are still in the valley of the shadow of death, but we can see the high place of Easter as certainly as a traveler in the desert can make out the green and flowered mountain slopes hours from the peaks.
At Christmas we say the light has come into the world and the darkness has not overcome it. Tonight we will bear witness to this. Tonight in the dark and the chill of a Midwestern spring evening, we will gather around a fire and listen to the stories of salvation. We will hold candles that will light for us the way to the high place of Easter. We will let those candles burn until we are beside a tomb that proves to be no tomb at all.
Soon and very soon the fumbling toward ecstasy will be the reality of the unclouded ecstatic Yes. Soon we will be in the high place brought there by Him who refused to caste Himself down from the great height or to lord over the kingdoms that sat below. Tonight, having been lifted up by Him who was lifted onto the tree, we will stand in His risen presence knowing that our kinship is not in the kingdoms below, but the one above. Because tonight we know He was not content to see His brothers and sisters caste into the waste lowly place He endured. Tonight we too will be brought to the great high place of Easter never to be cast down.