Saturday, March 27, 2010

When my parents died and I became an orphan, my birthday celebration changed. Growing up and even into my adult life, my parents made a big deal of my birthday. As a boy, there was a cake with candles, special dinner favorite foods, and I did not have to do the dishes after dinner. As an adult I would often try to be with my parents around or on my birthday and we would go out to dinner. There was always a present or two. it was always a celebration.
My parents are dead. Our family celebration is over. I will get up on March 28 and will probably move through a good portion of the day, encounter a bunch of people at church and no one will say, "Happy Birthday." On my birthday I am no longer the center of anyone's universe. The feeling can be one of anonymity. Depending on where I am that day, I could feel quite alone.
The good news is that now I can feel a bit of what Jesus must have felt moving from Palm Sunday to Easter. Palm Sunday we are all here gathered waving palms in celebration of Jesus. He is the center of our attention much like he was in the Gospel of Luke. By Good Friday, the gospel crowds have all left him alone to die. By good Friday, many of us will be on a three day weekend holiday maybe off skiing. You won't be thinking much about Jesus then. He will be alone and anonymous.
But there is more good news for us. No matter if we are off on holiday or in Church on Good Friday, Jesus died for us all, the curious, the forgetful, the hard core worshiper. His love does not depend on us. Even more, God knows what it is to be ignored, and anonymous. So, when I am ignored, forgotten, feeling anonymous, God is right here with me. A lot of the world does not believe that God exists. Some say, "I don't feel God," or "I don't know God." But most of the world does not experience me or know me, but I still exist.
Holy Saturday is when Jesus is buried. When we are dead and buried we begin the final phase of being forgotten. Within two generations, no one has any memory of us. But Friday is called "Good" and Saturday is called "Holy" because these are days in which God is not forgetting Jesus, nor will God forget us in our suffering, dying and burial. Easter Sunday bears all this out. God is our companion when the world drops out around us, and God never forgets us when we leave this world. This is pretty good news.