Reflections on Holy Saturday IV

Reflecting on the sheer darkness and hopelessness of Holy Saturday, I have argued, is necessary for working out a distinctly Christian worldview that has the strength to deal with the necessary problem of suffering. Every worldview must say something about this problem. What does Christianity offer? and particularly, what does Holy Saturday have to offer such a worldview?

christ_entombedThe Long Silence, offers us a helpful start in answering this question. The thing that gives Christianity credibility when faced with the open wound of suffering is the fact that God has suffered. At this point, Christianity offers a unique approach to the problem of suffering. Every other worldview falls short. Think of the following examples.

Buddhism — In a nutshell, attempts to offer a solution to suffering by suggesting that it is not real, it is an illusion. Suffering only exists as long as our desires do, so eliminate desire and you will eliminate suffering.

Hinduism — Its solution suggests that individual acts of suffering are the direct result of a person’s acts from a previous life. Every act of suffering in this life is evidence of Karma.

Islam — Doesn’t offer a solution, in the same way the other examples do, but insists that every instance of suffering and horror is the direct will of Allah. It is Allah’s chosen will that these things happen in this way.

But think for a moment; what do each of these worldviews have to say to parents who find themselves burying their two year old daughter after a horrible battle with Leukemia?

‘Its not really happening’, ‘she deserved it’, or, ‘God wanted this to happen.’

God knows her pain and the pain of her parents, he is with that little girl in death. God is in solidarity with us when we experience the pain this world offers. Of course, this isn’t the whole story of Christian worldview. But, to say it again, before we move on, it is worth pausing and asking what God was doing on Holy Saturday. Because there in the tomb, is something distinctly Christian.

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