I admit that I have never given much thought to the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter. As Jesus lay in the tomb, I have gone about my day picking up groceries for Easter lunch and last minute gifts for my children. But this year is different.
I woke up today in what felt like a season of heavy waiting. Waiting for it to be over? Waiting for what’s next? Waiting for what I am not sure. I am just waiting.
For the first followers of Jesus, it was a day of Sabbath rest. Jesus is dead and buried. Everyone has gone home.
Jesus was dead. The Gospel of Mark wants to make the point when he says, “Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman officer and asked if he had died yet. The officer confirmed that Jesus was dead” (Mark 15: 44-45). Jesus was dead.
On the back side of the resurrection, Holy Saturday is a day that sits between two polar opposites. Between death and life. Between sadness and joy. Between what has been and what will be.
It is a day that describes those who sit in grief. I believe a lot of the angst we are experiencing during Covid-19 is because as a culture we have forgotten how to grieve. We want to simply fix it and get over it. Like everything else we do in modern Western society, we view grief as a problem to be solved. Patch it up and let’s move on.
Megan Devine in her book “It’s OK That You Are Not Ok” writes, “The most effective and efficient way to be “safe” in this world is to stop denying that hard and impossible things happen.” She continues, “Real safety is in entering each other’s pain, recognizing ourselves in it.”
Holy Saturday reminds us that grief is not a problem to be solved. It is an experience to be carried. There is no need to rush redemption. Yes, Sunday is coming but acknowledging and naming the grief before us makes resurrection all the more meaningful.
What gives me hope on this Holy Saturday in the midst of Covid-19 is said best by the poet Wendell Berry when he says, “I take literally the statement in the Gospel of John that God loves the world. I believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar as it is redeemable, it can be redeemed only by love. I believe that divine love, incarnate and indwelling in the world, summons the world always toward wholeness, which ultimately is reconciliation and atonement with God.”
Friends, Sunday is coming!