Confusion: A Meditation

A holy pause.

For a few days each year we let go of certainty and order and step into the shadow cast by confusion. We dwell in doubt, chaos and unanswered questions. We enter the darkness.

Nothing makes sense.

Their leader, the one they called Master, Rabbi, Teacher, gets down into the dirt and washes their feet. The one they follow becomes their servant. “You do not understand what I am doing” he says to one close friend. It doesn’t make sense.

They have been on a rollercoaster of emotions. Anointed for burial? Jubilant procession into Jerusalem? Intellectual debates in the temple? What does it mean?

He has talked of death and destruction and as they share in the Passover meal he speaks of betrayal and denial. He picks up the bread and claims it’s his body; he calls the wine his blood. We don’t know what’s going on.

And then out into the darkness.

Deeply distressed, sorrowful, troubled, he weeps as he prays. He sweats blood and cries out to a God who in this moment seems so distant. They sleep, “exhausted from sorrow” (Luke 21:45). It’s too much.

He is betrayed, arrested, taken away. Friends flee. In confusion, all hope is abandoned. Love is lost and all they knew seems to be gone. They hide, deny they knew him, watch from a distance in the darkness as the one they thought would save Israel is beaten and condemned.

It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t seem real. It doesn’t seem possible.

Nothing makes sense.

And in this moment we join them.

We share in the confusion and chaos. We sit in the darkness. We embrace our unanswered questions. We acknowledge that we are human and that we don’t know or understand. We stare death in the face and the silence is deafening. What’s really going on here?

It’s a rare opportunity to come as we are.
Bring all our doubts.
Bring all our questions.
Bring all our fears.
Bring all our pain.

The world is a confusing place and things are not always ok.

On Thursday we share in the meal.
We share in the confusion.
In the garden we sleep.
We betray him with a kiss
and look into his eyes as he is arrested.

In the early hours we deny that we knew him.
We watch as he is questioned,
beaten, tortured, crucified.
Nothing we can say, nothing we can do.
It doesn’t make sense.
It hasn’t gone to plan.

On the Friday hope dies.
We watch the world fall apart
as we fall apart.
We sit in the shadow of the cross
and watch the light go out.
Extinguished; it is buried in the ground.

On the Saturday there is silence.
Long, agonising silence.
Our head spins with questions
amidst the pain and confusion.

It doesn’t make sense.

“This is the end.
This is goodbye.”

Where are you?

“But what about the miracles?
The meaning of the parables?
What about the dead You raised from the grave?”

Nothing makes sense.


The lyrics at the end of this blog were taken from a song called “The Confusion of Simon Peter” by Cool Hand Luke. It’s written from Peter’s perspective. You can find it on a short playlist I’ve compiled for this moment of confusion and pain. You may want to listen to it after reading this. Please support the artists by purchasing the music if you like any of the songs.

I wrote a blog last year called ‘The Silence of Saturday‘. In some ways this is its sequel. The journey continues. You may want to read it on Holy Saturday.