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Great Sabbath 2020

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BY REV. CORY L. KEMP |

Nothing about this time feels familiar or right.  Yet here we are.

All of our lives have been unceremoniously upended these last weeks, by governmental orders and rapid personal decision making, by both fear and a deep, deep desire for public safety.

While Jesus was spending forty days in the wilderness fasting and praying, we have spent ours foraging and gathering among grocery store aisles that used to provide almost limitless choice and abundance.

While Jesus was dialoguing with temptation, many of you have been homeschooling your children, working from home or both.

While Jesus slept out under the stars, we have stayed home, kept our distance, worn face masks and faced a steep technological learning curve courtesy of Zoom and Facebook live.

Nothing about Holy Week feels familiar or right. Yet, here we are.

Did you sing the Hosannas on Palm Sunday?  Online worship is an amazing gift, as is the resilient tenacity of those who create and lead it these days.  But the Hosannas are meant for groups, congregational voices coming together and responding to each other, live and in person.

While I missed that on Sunday, the Moravian British Province posted a Zoom video of laughing voices that came together only when the conclusion was drawn and acted upon: We need the musical introduction to begin singing on time and together.  We really do.  And then it is magic.

Did you participate in the readings for Holy Week?  Remembering these services from my childhood, I felt included in Jesus’ closest circle, honored to share this time with him.  This year, because of online worship opportunities, that immediate local circle grew to include familiar faces from my whole life.  That was powerful.

Did you come to the Lord’s table for Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday night?  Did you go to the foot of the cross on Friday afternoon to say goodbye?  These are far different, these sacramental moments and sacred times, interwoven as they have become with technology that covers some of the distance, but not all of it.

Nothing about today, Great Sabbath, feels familiar or right.  Yet, here we are.

Historically, the Sabbath that immediately precedes Passover is called Shabbat ha-Gadol, the Great Sabbath. It is this day that is commemorated in the Christian calendar as Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  While there is no liturgical component for this day in the Christian church, Moravians have celebrated Great Sabbath lovefeast for centuries.  I suspect this service is held simply this year, in our collective heart and soul.

Nothing about this time feels familiar or right. Yet, what remains?

While we grieve what feels lost this year, we also believe that this time is not forever, and that our grief will turn to joy. We believe that, “Ever since the creation of the world God’s eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made (Romans 1:20).”

Nothing feels familiar or right.  Yet, here we are, still trusting God, seeking and understanding evidence of God’s eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, through all that God has made, through all God has helped us be and become in these unfamiliar days that do not feel right.


About the Author

Photo of The Rev. Cory L. Kemp.

Photo courtesy of The Rev. Cory L. Kemp.

The Rev. Cory L. Kemp is founder and faith mentor with Broad Plains Faith Coaching. Cory, employing her signature Handcrafted Faith program, supports ordained and lay women leaders in visualizing, understanding and strengthening their beliefs, so that they may know, love and serve God and their communities with generosity, wisdom, and joy.


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