Holy Week: Is God there? Is faith real?

No soul is rested
Til it is emptied of all things That are made.
When, for love of Him, It is empty, The soul can receive His deep rest.
For he is our very rest,

Julian of Norwich

prayer's dynamic action,
that scoops out channels like water on stone.

For the asking, Denise Levertov

Mise au tombeau Auch 2, wikicommons

Mise au tombeau Auch 2, wikicommons

At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. John 19:41-42

Question: Is God there? Is faith real?

Again Jesus reaches out his pierced hand to draw us across yet another frontier, across absence, darkness and silence. A frightening trio of words. Ones that we run from perhaps. Or ward them off, drawing our hands up to cover our faces. Yet these three words disconcertingly stir just under the surface, scarcely acknowledged misgivings. They take us directly to our difficulties with impotence and omnipotence, lostness and purpose. My mind turns to a book I read decades ago, 'God is There and He is not Silent'. I ponder the title. I say 'Yes' to it but find its inverse resonates also. This seems more beguiling and pertinent: God is not there, God is silent. It clearly matches Jesus's followers' experience on this day - left, bereft in silence, enveloped by darkness. This surely matches our own unconfessed experiences on specific occasions and in various seasons of our lives.

Hollowed out, emptied

Jesus lies dead and forlorn, lifeless and inert. In my private world, in our neighbourhood? Unless a seed falls and dies in darkness there can be no life, an essential experience, one to value, even welcome. As Jesus emptied himself so are we hollowed out – stretched, opened up, and made ready . 

Andrew Hook