I have resisted this post all week, and now I find myself on Good Friday, the day that Christians remember the death of Jesus who died perversely on a cross. It brings to mind the many black and brown bodies who die at the hands of police violence, another perverse cross that exists in our nation (and world). In many ways, I resist this moment for I know it takes us all into the silence of Saturday, the unknown of resurrection, and darkness shrouds this day in a darkness that I must embrace.
I have known darkness in very personal ways, as recently as the week before Holy Week. It was a darkness that ignited my agnosticism, that radical unknowing of all things. It was a darkness that I embraced, a hopelessness that begged me to ground myself in a sense of radical hope, a rootedness that only darkness can bring. But, I don’t want to move to quickly to hope; I want to stay here a bit in the silence of Holy Saturday and embrace its darkness on Friday.
As a child growing up in a Southern Baptist Church, I always wondering how we got from Good Friday to Easter–to the “hooray, he has risen.” For me, I often was stuck in that in/between space of Saturday–the darkness, the already and not yet space. And so, this year, while I live with loads of doubt, I find myself in transition from the Last Supper that we celebrated on Thursday, the Death that is recognized, today, on Friday, and I resist the darkness of Saturday that is inevitably coming.
It is the Already/Not yet space. The space of hopelessness, the space where you just don’t know. It is, perhaps, the space that is the darkest and all you can do is rest in your hopelessness.
This is Easter for me–the darkness, the deep groundedness, and hopelessness of Saturday, and embracing this darkness on Friday, today.
And so, as I lean into this resistance of silence that is on the horizon, I ask myself: is there a way beyond the dichotomy of the Already/Not Yet? Perhaps not! Perhaps we remain in the place of hopelessness, in the place where we are compelled to work and unite together and hope against all hope for something radically different. That is this year’s Easter for me–hoping against all hopelessness, the space and place of the Already/Not Yet of Christianity.
Resisting the silence of Holy Saturday is the active resistance of resisting the silence of injustice, the silence of oppression, and the ways that institutions perpetuate this silence. In the active resistance of this silence is the radical embrace of Friday, the darkness that clouds our day and compels us to embrace the orientation of hoping against all hope. It is in this darkness that we find the God who is beyond God, a return to God after God. It is the recognition that hope displaces the silence of doubt and initiates new contours of trusting the darkness of the unknown.
[I’m grateful to Jürgen Moltmann’s work which I read years ago that motivated me to transition into the space of Holy Saturday, and his personal stories that unmask the realness of an immanent God who suffers with us in our hoping against all hope.]
Robyn Henderson-Espinoza is a queer Latin@ who negotiates layers of agnosticism as their faith orientation. Believing that the ways of Jesus are tangible ways of enacting radical social change, Robyn strategically deploys theologies and ethics of radical difference to disrupt the hegemonic structures that reproduce multi-system oppressions. As an anti-oppression, anti-racist, Trans*gressive genderqueer, Robyn takes seriously their call as an activist theologian and ethicist to bridge together theories and practices that result in communities responding to pressing social concerns.