Saturday, April 11, 2020

Love Opens Opens Doors to Near and (Socially) Distant Neighbors: A Holy Saturday Meditation

“So [the soldiers] went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone” 
(Matthew 27:66).


That’s the impetus for why the tomb was sealed. They did not want to lose their power, privilege, and control of the narrative. So they sealed it off from those who would seek to visit the tomb and pay homage to Jesus. 

That was my experience when I visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher that Sunday morning last May. As various Christian traditions gathered to worship, a scuffle broke out about liturgical logistics and the door to the tomb was slammed shut to would-be visitors like me and the long line of others. This is a frequent occurrence and not likely what the Messiah had in mind. 

Contrast this to Wajeeh Nuseibeh, a Palestinian Muslim man whose family has held the key to the church and deed to the land for some 600 years. They are the mediators in the madness; a neutral party to prevent complete chaos and territorialism. Every morning, Wajeeh Nuseibeh climbs a wooden ladder to the top of the aged front door and opens it to the pilgrims. Love is greater than fear. Love opens doors to near and (socially) distant neighbors. 

On this Holy Saturday, I am thinking of Wajeeh Nuseibeh, whom I met and thanked last May. I am also praying for openings to extend such love in the midst of pervasive fear and anxiety. I am also giving thanks for the many who, in these despairing days, have already found their way to do just that.