Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter, falls on 20 April in 2019. Another date of infamy. Hitler’s birthday and the 20th Anniversary of Columbine. Bishop Eaton of the ELCA, describes Holy Saturday thusly: “We are given this holy space to grieve, to be empty, to realize that life as we know it, is over. . . . It beckons us from one life to life in Christ.”
Wednesday of Holy Week found Linda and me in St. Cloud attending a conversation on gun violence prevention sponsored by Protect Minnesota and Mom’s Demand Action. The focus was on two gun violence prevention bills being debated in the Minnesota Legislature: Criminal Background Check and Red Flag. The panel consisted of a mother called to action following the Parkland shooting, a Lutheran pastor whose daughter was murdered by a young man who “wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone,” a public health doctor and a public service/former police chief. The pastor lovingly and tearfully said when he meets his daughter in heaven he wants her to be proud of him for doing something about gun violence prevention.
The person who talked the most was a disheveled blonde woman in her 30’s. She could support the criminal background check bill as she has had to be checked several times for her work. However, she had problems with the Red Flag Bill saying it didn’t go far enough saying it focused only on the gun and not on the mental health of the potential shooter. She had a point. She was also annoying as she kept talking and dominating the conversation.
After the meeting adjourned, she came over to me. I was wearing my clergy collar and had spoken about the nonviolent Will of God and nonviolent ethics of Jesus. She said she was a recovering catholic! She also said she had a permit to carry, carried a gun in her car and on her person, though not in this meeting! She said she had been raped. Her husband held her down while his friend raped her. Her EX lives in St. Cloud and has threatened her. I can understand why she owns weapons. As she told her story her defensiveness lowered, we laughed at times and shared stories. We found some common ground and hugged at the end.
On this same day, an 18 year old girl from Florida, flew from Florida to Denver, Colorado, purchased a shotgun and shells, and prepared to do a Columbine redux. She was obsessed with Columbine! The Denver Public Schools cancelled classes for 500,000 students because the FBI had gotten wind of her intention due to her social media posts, her parents and perhaps through her background check data. Her name was Sol Pais. Sol ended up killing herself near Mt. Evans.
Now it is Holy Saturday. 20 April. We have gazed upon the cross at the liberator Christ, been reminded of the crosses on a hill near Columbine remembering the victims, traumatized by all that is dark in humanity, visualized Jesus in a stone tomb, another death, another state satisfaction to keep the peace. The religious powers are calmed and the status quo appeased. Yet, we grieve. We are empty. Life as we know it is over.
But Sunday’s coming! Time to pass the bills! Call your state Senator and House Representative.