Holy Saturday’s Song

Today, brothers and sisters of the Jesus-named faith,
You must stop and hear the still of death

The Holy One takes in no oxygen
and blood does not flow
Flesh grown cold

Still, you and I, be still
If you must move, let it be a mourning dance
If you must reverberate, a groaning trance

Today we re-member
death’s hard truth
a day of finitude, of lonely tears
and deep longing for what is gone

And death, people of Jesus,
is today’s purpose
sitting, prostrating, falling, being thrown or carefully placed into a tomb

The One who loved, who spoke truth, who touched and healed and wept
and stood up to distortion and sat down with the despised
That One, in the tomb, abides

And seeps even into the caverns of hell
to penetrate the most pervasive conditions
of our bondage, our travail

Only in death could this One
find His way into the utterly lost
the tortured
the spaces where no rest could come

He found us there
in death, in rejection
in the roots of despair
in trauma, in brutality,
in madness

And unlocked some cosmic equation
and hastened the death of damnation

The lengths that Our Liberator will go
even into the sewers, the bowels
of the unforgivable, the better off dead
the throw aways,
the ones who no one loved
and no one missed
the ones whose last breath was celebrated
the ones ravaged by cruelty
the pieces, the peace-less
of fragments, the frailty

Compassion flows into the contours of death
and befriends the most repulsive
corners of human capacity

Be still
and feel the gentle
ingress and egress of oxygen
that signals your life goes on

And sit in the possibility
of the new that gestates
today in a tomb
a womb
in mourning, in rigor mortis
in a stiff, silent chorus

Extend into
the shadows of ourselves, our real
And trust the kind of power
that tastes death
and loves and liberates even still

12 thoughts on “Holy Saturday’s Song”

  1. Brian Paulson says:

    A powerful insight Marcia. Thank you for this offering of mystery. “The light shines … in the darkness …”

    1. Marcia says:

      Thank you for reading and for commenting, Brian. And darkness befriended is what I am feeling today… I think of Pseudo Dionysius’ “divine dark.” There is a stunning poetry to this day when Jesus abides in death. Sending lots of love to the whole First Presbyterian Church of Libertyville community.

  2. Jin S Kim says:

    Thanks Marcia for this haunting, yet uplifting piece. I was deeply moved by the jarring imagery that ultimately ends in beauty. We need to linger a bit longer in the grip of Friday before tomorrow’s resurrection!

    1. Marcia says:

      Thank you, Jin, for your comment. It is hard to linger here. Thankful for the community of faithful who are trying to do just that…

  3. Beverly Rudolph says:

    I feel sort of off today, listless, restless. Waiting. This poem spoke to all those parts of me I have been trying to reject today. Now I seep into them, into Him. Peace. Uneasy peace, but peace nonetheless. Thank you, Marcia.

    1. Marcia says:

      Thank you, Beverly. A strong testimony to the disposition Holy Saturday invites–uneasy, off, restless..and peace nonetheless.

  4. RB says:

    Very powerful, but it seems to both constrict and liberate, give and take, perhaps it is this tussling between both extremes that gives the poem its power.

  5. Alicia says:

    I just discovered this post three weeks into the Easter season. I’ve been feeling alienated from the entire Lent/Easter narrative this year.

    I’m grateful for your poem. Thank you for voicing wonder and hope, grounded in bodies and living.

    1. Marcia says:

      Thank you, Alicia, for finding your way here–sounds like it was the right time for you! I, too, connected with the Holy Saturday dynamic more than anything this year. There is such integrity and healing in the tomb/womb/darkness/gestating/transforming day of this new layer of both/and “ness” for Christ. It continues to speak to me as a person with a body that is living/dying/rejoicing/grieving/dancing/resting and everything in between.
      Prayers for you and blessings in your own journey around the edges this Easter season.

  6. Toni DiCapua says:

    WOW! I’ve been feeling very alone these past few days and especially with Mother’s day this Sunday. (Mother passed two years ago.) I’m going to have to reread this a few times. Somehow I’m sensing that it is speaking to me of my current feelings.

    1. Marcia says:

      Thank you, Toni. I am thankful that you found resonance there. Grief can be so isolating. The gift of Holy Saturday is that we are reminded of Christ’s abiding presence in the depths of our despair. Walk slowly with it all and be gentle with yourself.
      Peace to you,

  7. Marianne says:

    Your evocative words express the darkness of the place of the dead Jesus that I’ve been experiencing since yesterday’s Good Friday service. And the song fills the heart with the hope of Easter, why we wait at the tomb. Thank you, thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *