The Cloud of Unknowing
April 7, 2012
For a time on Friday, the sky was so overcast and dark that travelers around the city of Jerusalem were frightened by its darkness. Even old timers could not remember such a day. It was like no other they could recall. It was as if God were blocking out the sight that was unfolding on Golgotha. His very own Son, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, was dying for the sins of the world. But Moses knew of such a day. It happened for him on Mount Sinai when God was giving him the Law. It was when God drew near and with a finger etched in stone the Ten Commandments. Could it be that God was drawing near once again? This was the moment of Redemption. This was the moment of the triumphal action of the Triune God.
Darkness was again present on this Black Saturday/Sabbath. Only this time it was in heart and mind. The cloud of unknowing, the cloud that descends when Heaven and Earth do not seem to agree. Eleven disciples and other followers were behind barred doors trying to understand what had happened and why. A week ago they were so sure He was the Christ, the Lord’s Anointed. Now He is gone. Concealed in a borrowed tomb. Awaiting tomorrow for His embalming. The Lord who promised eternal life has been crucified as a common criminal. What do we do now; where can we go but home? How could we have been so wrong about Him?
Put yourself in their position. What thoughts would have been racing through your own head and heart? What feelings would be overwhelming you right now? He was gone. The Christ you believed in was dead. Your hopes have been dashed. Now when will the leaders that crucified Him be coming for you? Would there be more crosses on that unholy hill?
But you had been so sure. You left all to follow Him. Some of what He taught you escaped your full attention. But the Sermon on the Mount. It was like it had been shared yesterday. But….. But…. Now He is gone. What is there left to recover? Right now it is a lot safer to be in Galilee than here. But this is the Sabbath and Galilee is too far to start out today. Why, oh why, did we not see this coming?
And what of the clouds we have already experienced? Like at His baptism when God spoke of Him. And for some of us when we were with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration. Did we not hear the Voice of God? Yet now all we have is a cloud and no Voice. The only voice we hear is that of our own fears speaking. What is there left to hold on to? Is tomorrow the day they come after us?
Did we not say we would be willing to die with Him? Then why did we all run away? Why did we forsake Him and leave Him all alone? Lord, how sorry we are. We should have stood our ground. What can we do? We let Him down. If only we had known. Tomorrow we’ll head for Galilee. We’ll leave by the Emmaus Road. We’ll go a few at a time.
Lord, You know our hearts. You know our fears. We forsook Him for fear of our own dying. It was awful. Here we are hiding as if all the world is after us. If only we could have another chance to prove our love for Him. If only we could turn the sundial back and listen more intently to what He was seeking to tell us. Did we miss something because we were too intent on what we wanted Him to be? And what do we do now? Is it too late? Forgive us, Lord. Amen.