By Rev. Arvil Bass
A reading from The Message—Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24.
“I’m the man who has seen trouble, trouble coming from the lash of God’s anger. He took me by the hand and walked me into pitch-black darkness. Yes, he’s given me the back of his hand over and over and over again. He turned me into a scarecrow of skin and bones, then broke the bones. He hemmed me in, ganged up on me, poured on the trouble and hard times. He locked me up in deep darkness, like a corpse nailed inside a coffin. He shuts me in so I’ll never get out, manacles my hands, shackles my feet. Even when I cry out and plead for help, he locks out my prayers and throws away the key. He sets up blockades with quarried limestone. He’s got me cornered.
I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.”
“God of Promise and Presence, on this day-of-silence (between the struggle of Good Friday and the victory of Easter Sunday) show us how to wait patiently with expectation. Because we live our lives of faith right here—in-between the already and the not yet—teach us how to trust you for what has been promised but has not yet come to pass.
Understanding you hear much better than we can speak, we pause to silently lift the deep intentions of our hearts (pause for individual intentions).
So many times, God, it looks like evil will prevail, and so any times in our world it looks like death gets the final word. Teach us the “patience- of-faith- power” that Holy Saturday speaks.
Pour into our hearts a fresh measure of the Holy Spirit that we will cling to the “hope” in you that does not disappoint. Amen.