Where God Is Absent

Today is Saturday. The day between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. The day our Jesus lays in the tomb. Dead.

It doesn't get as much attention as the holidays that bookend this Saturday, but I am curious. The day Jesus is missing in action.

Sometimes we think there are places, people, or moments in our world from which God is absent. Bad area. Nothing good in him. Dark hour. It may not be fully acknowledged, but many look around and think some version of "God is not here."

The problem I've experienced is that it is in the very spaces society tells me God is missing where I've always found God. The places where we assume God is not to be found, God is very present, active, and alive. When we feel an absence of God, perhaps we are not looking in the right places.

God is holding hands with those on the margins. In some of the places where death is most present, God is most alive. But these spaces can be uncomfortable.

We want to God to live at church, to sit next to us in the pew and sing with us our songs. For me, though, I've rarely found God in those spaces.

I've experienced God in cramped one room apartments over a communion of boiled pigs' feet and Pepsi. I've felt God at the border with men who open up in confession and long to return home to their families. I've found God in the surprising community of women at a stripper's baby shower.

On this Holy Saturday, we are waiting for Resurrection Sunday. But we know when Jesus arises, he will go where he is least expected. He will visit Mary Magdalene. She will tell his followers, and they won't believe her. 

God is present. We may need to look in different places and listen to different people. God is alive.

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