22 March 2008

The Vigil of Easter

We Christians celebrate the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday as the "Vigil of Easter." In truth, there was no vigil for the first Christians, the frightened and depressed band of Jesus' followers. They spent this day hunkered down, wondering whether they would be caught in an oncoming wave of persecution, of whether this was all going to just blow over, now that their leader had been so brutally humiliated and executed. Some didn't wait to find out, and left Jerusalem on foot for Emmaus.

They were probably in a mixture of grief-stages: the horror of the past days must have seemed at once to be an unreal nightmare, and an all too real trauma. They didn't know whether to hide, flee, or fight and lose a hopeless last battle. Or just sit and wait, in mourning.

No doubt some prayed, even as Jesus had taught them. And the answer was a dead silence.

Yet life went on. The men cared for their wives, the women for their children. Meals had to be made, the little ones fed, the sick tended.

So, on this day, I took my elderly dogs (one of whom will likely die within weeks to months) for a walk, including a little off-lead time by a creek. I helped my elderly mother with her finances. I wished my sister a happy birthday.

Take care of those whom God has placed in your care, this Easter Vigil. And wait. Tomorrow is quite another day.

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