The Face of God: Holy Saturday
With Stephanie Evelyn McKellar
It’s Holy Saturday, a day of waiting. A day of waiting without knowing what comes next. A day where, while we know the way the story goes, as the readers, audiences, the christian’s progeny who can benefit from hindsight, may we remember and re-connect to those spaces where we wait without knowing when the road ends.
Perhaps we wait with confidence, and eager anticipation.
Perhaps we wait with reserved hopefulness, telling and re-telling ourselves stories of triumph and perseverance, stirring up our hearts with the comfort of storytelling.
Perhaps we wait with uncertainty, doubt, or have even descended fully into despair.
Perhaps we don’t even wait; we resign ourselves to the tragedy in which we live. We simply do the work of breathing, enduring the moments as we let time roll over us and life roll through us.
Through this Lenten journey, we have walked alongside journeys of transformation, struggle, and undoing. We have walked through a reassessment of even our names, our identity, our relationship to ourselves, to others, and to the God who imbues us with life.
We’ve given voice to a great many emotions throughout the wrestling process.
So as you sit in this waiting day, I invite you to an improv practice that allows you to give voice to the dynamic and nuance in waiting.
Do this exercise alone. Enter, as a character, through a door. Use the door to set the stage (what type/kind of door, location of the door, how the door opens). In that environment, address your character (the character who entered through the door) as a different character (also played by you), then leave as one of the characters (through the door, or through another door/window/hole/whatever). Do this fairly fast and long enough so you run through a variety of characters.
What characters might you create in this exercise? What internal voices might you give audibility to? Perhaps you’d like to embody scriptural characters with each door entry, characters with whom you’d like to more deeply empathize. Perhaps, throughout the course of the weeks, you’ve felt a number of emotions in your Lenten journey. Perhaps you’d like to give voice to your doubt, faith, questions, old named identity, and new named identity. Through this exercise, consider exploring the dimensions of yourself through each character.
Furthermore, what environment does each of these voices and characters inhabit? Are they finding themselves at a comfortable breakfast table? A cold and dreary bus stop? A crowded train station? A family dinner? A business meeting? Take time to explore those inner voices as well as the location you imagine them in, and use this as a prayerful exercise to explore what these environments represent for the characters you’re creating.
There’s no wrong answer in this exercise; it’s an opportunity to encounter yourself, and to encounter the ways God is at work in your wrestling and struggle. Use this exercise to embody and characterize whatever may feel like it requires and desires expression.