Something Strange Is Happening (Holy Saturday)

I slept, but my heart was awake. Listen! my beloved is knocking. “Open to me…”
(Song of Songs 5:2a)

It’s the day after Jesus’ brutal execution by the state. His body lies in the tomb; his apprentices are devastated, in shock.

But what else might be going on? The Christian imagination has held that Christ, absent his body but very much active in more subtle realms, ‘descended to hell’ (see the Apostles’ Creed) and preached a liberating word to the ‘spirits in prison’ (see 1 Peter 3:18-20).

We’re in the penultimate day of the ‘Paschal Triduum’ initiated the Thursday of Jesus’ last Supper…now it is ‘Holy Saturday’… Easter is coming. But his apprentices did not know this—at least, not with an outer knowing.

They await revelation in darkness.

Beneath our darkness, the Christian lineage holds, so much more is going on:

Jesus is befriending our subterranean selves, in the places we rarely acknowledge, and urging us to wake up!

This is illustrated parabolically in the following telling, shared anonymously from ancient times…

“Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness.

The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.
The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh
And God has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began.

God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep.
Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve.
The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory.

At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: ‘My Lord be with you all.’

Christ answered him: ‘And with your spirit.’

He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying:
‘Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’

‘I am your God, who for your sake have become your son.

Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth,
All who are in darkness to be enlightened,
All who are sleeping to arise.

I order you, O sleeper, to awake.
I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell.

Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.
Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image.
Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you;
Together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son;
I, the Lord, took the form of a slave;
I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth.
For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead.
For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you.
See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image.
On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back.
See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once heedlessly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side.
My side has healed the pain in yours.
My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell.
The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place.
The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise.
I will not only restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven.
I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life
But see, I who am Life itself am now one with you.

I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded,
But now I make them worship you as God.
The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager.

The bridal chamber is adorned
The banquet is ready
The eternal dwelling places are prepared
The treasure houses of all good things lie open.
The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.'”

For Further Reflection:

The Day Between the Death and Ressurection of Christ (art and meditation)

The Harrowing of Hell (graphic novel) by Evan Dahm.

The Harrowing of Hades – Clarion Journal (compiled by Bradley Jersak)

Gateway to Oneness – Alexander John Shaia

3 Responses to Something Strange Is Happening (Holy Saturday)

  1. Aleph April 23, 2019 at 3:35 am #

    This is illustrated parabolically in the following telling, shared anonymously from ancient times…

    I love this piece – it opens up so many possibilities

    Where did you find it and what is known about the author. When was it written – as far as we know?

  2. Don Salmon April 4, 2021 at 6:53 am #

    I die daily – St. Paul

    The heart knows the true Love. The House of Reason is far from this Love. Kabir

    Putting aside the false self and putting on the Mind of Christ St. Paul again.

    It is so close. Closer than the jugular vein, the Koran tells us; this wakefulness, this waking from the sleep “which is day to the ordinary person but night to the sage; and the waking of the sage is sleep to the ordinary person! The Bhagavad Gita, 2nd chapter.

    Can it be any clearer than that? Gurdjieff told us again and again, “you are asleep. You think you are awake but you are asleep.”

    Well, if “I” (that’s the false self, the little me) am asleep, how do I wake up?

    And Krishnamurti would have said, “Ah, that’s your problem right there. “You” can’t wake yourself up. You can’t do this because you’re asleep.”

    Then, you ask – becoming increasingly anxious – am I helpful, can I not DO anything?

    No, because in Truth, “you” as the false self, the little me, don’t even exist. This is not some weird Eastern illusionist myth; even the neuroscientists tell us that this false self is constructed somewhere between age 1 and 3, with the medial prefrontal cortex playing a particularly important role, along with the various ancient structures of the brain stem.

    This roughly constructed false self is the root of all of our suffering, it is the crucifixion of this false self that spontaneously leads to the awakening of the True Self, ever one with Christ.

    But, you say again, now even more desperate, “HOW DO I DO THIS?” Ah, the cry of the false self (Pride goeth before the fall, yes?)

    YOU as the false self can’t do anything (shhh, don’t tell the Pelagians). But you aren’t the false self. That’s the Good News and how often we forget it. RIGHT NOW, the Kingdom of Heaven is within you, IS you. You are the Light of the world.

    The mind reels, but the Heart knows. Come to your senses. Feel the Presence of the body right now, feel the Presence of the room, the computer, the floor, the birds singing outside, the fan blowing, whatever is being sensed – whatever is be-ing sensed.

    Resucito, alleluia – resurrection has already happened. As the Zen Master said to the Catholic priest, “Show me your resurrection.” This is like the Zen saying “Show me your face before you were born.”

    It’s here. It is infinitely, unthinkably, ecstatically good news – Good News. This is It. Thou art That.

    Now put down all the words and go outside and enjoy this beautiful day of the Lord.

    This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.


    And allowing anxiety, allowing pain, allowing desperation, allowing anger, allowing judgment, control, manipulation and all the other games of the little me, the false self.

    Rest in this allowing and let God do the rest.

    and finally, in that “rest” is a pun; don’t miss it:>))))

    Or as Jan and I say, “Remember to be!” (www.RememberToBe.Life” – actually, I think Ramana Maharshi said it first: “In order to wake up, all you have to do is be. What can be simpler than that?”

  3. don salmon April 4, 2021 at 6:57 am #

    Sorry, does everyone know who the Pelagians are? In my simplistic way, I would say they were perhaps the precursors to Nike: “Just DO it.”

    You know, we’re human be-ings, not human do-ings.

    What happens if all day long, you’re doing doing, doing this, doing that, do, do, do do?

    You end up with doodoo!

    And we think that getting an education and a good job and the right laws and government and the latest technology and scripture study and self motivated prayer is going to do it? More doodoo (spell check here wants to turn that into “voodoo”…. Hmmmm)

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