God in the Void: Reflections for Holy Saturday

“When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o'clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”

(Mark 15:33-34)



Francisco de Zurbarán [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
A God that is simply all-powerful,
All-knowing,
Unchangeable,
And immovable—

Can this sort of God have any credibility for us today in the real world?

While unabashed prejudice, hatred, and violence
Threaten to become the new normal,

While trucks come barreling down the sidewalk,

While bombs rain down from the sky,
When they shatter the holy silence of our places of worship,

In a world with sarin gas,

The unchanging, unaffected, immovable god, who dwells in unapproachable light, can have no credibility for me.



What, then, of the Void?

Does nothing at all lie beyond the world we see in the news?

The hope offered up by our deeply ambiguous lives,
And our deeply ambiguous world,
Hope that is so scant and intermittent,
So often too little and too late,

Is that all the hope we really have?

I find myself longing for so much more than the limited possibilities of this world.
And why, if beyond there lies only the Void?

The Void can have no more credibility for me than the almighty, immovable, god.



“Darkness came over the whole land,”
In the place of the skull,
On the cross,
“Jesus cried out…‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”

Here we find neither the Void,
Nor the almighty, immovable god.

Here is revealed something else altogether,
If we dare to imagine it.



Here we find a God who knows suffering, and death, and ultimate abandonment—
A God who knows the Void,
Who freely enters into it,
So that when we find ourselves there we might not find it empty,

So that there might be new life on the other side.



Might this God we find crying out from the cross,
Be a God who yet has credibility for us in the real world?

Might this be a God in whom we would dare to hope?


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