This evening we celebrated Matins with Lamentations at the tomb of Christ. It’s always been one of my favorite services of the year. Ever since Holy Week 2011 when I was mourning our miscarried baby, Innocent, buried the week before, however, it has had special meaning.
Isaiah saw the never-setting light
of Thy compassionate manifestation to us as God, O Christ.
Rising early from the night he cried out:
“The dead shall arise.
Those in the tombs shall awake.
All those on earth shall greatly rejoice.”
-Canon of Holy Saturday, Ode 5
“The dead shall arise.” Yes, I do believe that. This evening as we sang the fifth ode of the canon my heart physically ached with the grief of loss. So many hearts I held in mine. I grieve my own losses but also grieve for my friends’ and family’s losses. I remembered several people at that moment: my babies, my Aunt Susan who lost her valiant fight with cancer in December, my friend Alana’s husband gone too soon from cancer last year, a friend’s nephew who took his own life a few months ago, my friend Elizabeth whose Aunt Karen died yesterday.
My ringer was off but I noticed I had a string of texts toward the end of the service and I started to grow concerned. Everyone who might text me was either in church (somewhere) or either a family member. I realized it had to be family. I stepped outside to check. My mother was letting us know that my Great-Uncle Harry was nearing the end. He’s the last of his generation and I have been dreading this moment. But how appropriate today.*
So much grief, but I believe that the grief and pain we feel, Christ feels for us as well, and so much more. How many of you would gladly have taken the place of a friend or family member so that they might live? Silly question, right? Christ died to save all of us from death. He destroyed it so that it might never hold us captive again. The dead shall arise!!
*Harry Archer Buzzett +4/7/18