Death is always dramatic. It is the ultimate closure. The days after death may be anything but dramatic . They are often mundane and colourless, the beginning of a slow, relentless depression. Those who feel left behind on this empty beach of existence begin to adapt to the empty space, the void left to them by the one they loved. Their lives once revolved around that person in ways they were only half-aware of before, and at depths in themselves that they had never noticed before.
This must have been the case for those personally stricken by the death of Jesus on the Cross. The bystanders and bloodthirsty mob forgot him quickly, just another victim of the violent times they lived in. His family and friends would have moved backwards and forwards across a spectrum ranging from shame and guilt to disappointment, fear and anger.
We need this time to mourn and grieve and occasionally despair or rage. Holy Saturday symbolises this time, a watershed with no water, a bridge broken midway, an empty chair, a half-occupied bed.
Anyway, this is true on the surface. But, from the depths below, we hear the missile of Christ’s spirit penetrating into all the hidden, forgotten and buried layers of consciousness. They are present in us, if only we knew, from the beginning of the evolution of the human. But we would rather not know because it would confuse us to know how many stages of pre-human development still remain in us, how many ancestors we have.
As the not yet risen Jesus harrows hell, we wait for his resurgence into the human realm, where we recognize ourselves. But will we recognise him risen? Soon we will see how we have changed, how once heavy chains are lighter, loosened if we wish to test them. We will begin, over the coming centuries, to feel how a new peace replaces the old fears, a new gentleness the ancient violence. We will see connections growing between the preconscious and the conscious. Insights into justice, human freedom and dignity, religion and human relationships emerge from this new consciousness as the human is understood in the light of its source and goal.
But will we recognise him risen? He who said ‘you and I form one undivided person’?