when hope goes to hell

If you are able,
tell God what it is like
to live in the wreckage of dreams that have no life left –
when peace is dead and buried
when hope has gone to hell.

I’ve always said that it would be great to do Holy Saturday in the prison. Now that we’re doing it, i’ve realised it’s redundant; sort of like doing Lent in a bushfire ravaged community… Nevertheless, we’re not letting reality stop us, we’re doing it anyway.

The women have said that they would like a vigil, so we’re offering what’s basically a sacred space that they can wander in and out of on the Saturday afternoon. All the normal prison pre-requisites apply – no props apart from paper based products and pens with transparent casings [yes to cardboard, no to long lengths of black fabric, black markers, paints etc]; no movies, projection, and a small selection of music [on a terrible cd player!]. It sucks, because holy saturday has to be the best day to do multimedia stuff…

Each of the stations will have a printed out image, and black card with black pens to write / draw responses. We’ll have music in the background – some Sinead O’Connor, Gorecki, stuff like that. I’ll add the images when they’re sorted…

Theologically, the women are largely very traditional / conservative in their views. Although many of them have never been to church, they know what they know about religion, and this is not the place to play with it! I keep wanting it to be abstract and meaningful, but it really just looks pretentious for the context…

The words for the spaces are after the jump:

at the entrance

Traditionally
the church doesn’t do worship on Holy Saturday
because God is dead.
We breathe a sigh of relief
now that the crucifixion is over
and wait for whatever comes next.

But the story of Easter
says that after Jesus had died,
things didn’t just pause until Sunday.
Instead, he went to hell.

This is not a time of worship.
Instead, it’s a space
to look for God
in places of hell in our lives, this prison and the world.

Move around the spaces,
read what’s written there,
look at the images,
and if you would like, write a response on the card.

Stay for as long [or short!] as you would like.

Space 1

We wanted a God who would take away hell
and banish it forever

Instead we have a God who enters it.

What difference does it make to have you here God?

If God is here
what do you want to say to God?


Space 2

Today might mean nothing to you

perhaps you have grieved too often
and too much,
and you’re over it.

If today just feels empty
and nothing out of the ordinary
that’s ok.

Let it be what it is.

But if you would like, wait here in the emptiness.

Know you’re not alone.


Space 3

We’re used to things going to hell.
There are too many things we trusted in
that no longer have life:
dreams
hopes
longings

justice
peace
love

If you are able,
tell God what it is like
to live in the remnants of dreams that have no life left –
when peace is dead and buried
when hope has gone to hell.

Space 4
We are not alone.
Much of the world lives in some kind of hell

so pray for all those around the world today
who find the loneliness overwhelming
and the fear all-absorbing;
who do not know how they will survive tonight
or tomorrow.

Hold faith for them
that God is with them.

Write your prayer for them on the card.

Space 5
God
if you are in our hell
we pray that we will be in your resurrection.

Don’t leave us behind
when you go.

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