Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:1-8 NRSV)
So now we wait. Jesus has died, his body has been placed in the tomb. Sabbath has begun. Work ceases. All is quiet.
Imagine what the disciples must have felt. What just happened here?! We were just getting started. All the people praised him only a week ago. He taught us so much, he healed so many people. He helped us see a new way of kingdom living. Was it all for nothing? Why did our friend have to endure all of this? Why did we follow him, only to have it end like this?
Imagine what Mary must have felt. Did I misunderstand God? Did I give birth to my precious son, raise him in love, and watch him go off to follow God’s will, only to have his life end this way? Why did MY SON die? Nothing makes any sense.
Right now, as much as possible, try to imagine that we do not yet know the happy morning that is just ahead. How would today feel? The Easter Vigil is a powerful time of patient waiting. We sit in our own tomb-darkness and grieve the loss of this One we hold dear. We embrace the uncertainty of the day as a liminal space of “unknowing” in which God can do profound transformational work. As God transformed Jesus into new life, so too, we may ask God to transform our own lives in the darkness of this tomb-time.
The Easter Vigil brings to mind this parable of the judge that Jesus had once told his disciples. After the horror of Good Friday, as his dear ones spent the day in quiet bewilderment and terrible grief, could they remember Jesus’ story of the judge? Could they remember Jesus’ assurance that God would quickly help his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Could they trust that God was still working?
Throughout our lives we will have vigils, times of watching and waiting in uncertainty after a loss. In our darkness of despair and grief, do we remember these wonderful words as well? God will not fail us. While we trust and wait and work and pray and wonder and remain patient, we can carry this assuring hope of Christ in our hearts. So that “When the Son of Man comes…” he WILL find faith on earth!
Are you talking to ME?
Today Jesus is asking, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?”
When your life is in turmoil with no clear answers in sight, are you able to trust that God is still working? Are you able to believe Jesus’ assurance that God will help- and quickly? In these times, are you able to just BE? Are you able to abide in God’s love, in quiet strength and trust? What gifts may come in the waiting? Christ is already here among and within us. Is he finding any faith on earth? In you?
When the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?