It feels wrong to say that Saturday is my favorite day of Holy Week, but it’s true. It is a day that feels sacred to me, sitting in the gap of tragedy and triumph, resting between death and victory.
Perhaps it is my favorite because it feels so familiar. It feels like most of our lives. This is the day when I feel so small and helpless, standing with the cross behind me and watching the tomb before me where hopes and dreams are buried.
I don’t think I’ve ever yearned for the resurrection more than I do these days.
Friday is the day of deep loss and confusion. Sunday is the day of fulfillment and joy. But Saturday leaves me sitting with the question: Will God fulfill His promises?
The answer seems obvious, but it never feels obvious. What it feels like is a pit in your stomach, a tightness in your chest. It feels like a dry mouth and swollen eyes. It feels like an impossible choice: stay or flee. Stay here staring at the tomb where hope is inseparable from reminders of loss and pain? Or flee from pain and loss–and also the possibility of seeing God do something miraculous?
The day between crucifixion and resurrection was the Sabbath–a day built into the rhythms of Israel to remind them to soak in the knowledge that they were not the gods of their lives, operating under the illusion of control and comfort built by their own hands. The Sabbath was a reminder that even as God rested, He ruled. That even when it felt like nothing was happening, in the lack of activity and plans, God was still at work.
I think the Sabbath trained their hearts to wait and trust in the silence. Between the anguished cries of Friday and the jubilant rejoicing of Sunday rests the silence of the grave.
Our lives are filled with so much noise and activity because we are scared of the silence. In silence, we don’t yet know the ending. In silence, we are waiting for a response. In silence, we are not in control.
It is far too tempting to fill the silence and move past the discomfort of Saturday. Yet Jesus chose to wait silently for Sunday, separated from those He loved by a boulder and a guard. But it wasn’t the first time Jesus chose to wait for a resurrection. When He tarried before, He told his disciples the delay was “…so that you may believe” (John 11:15).
Silence has its purpose. Saturday intensifies our experience of the injustice and pain of Friday. Saturday deepens the joy and triumph of Sunday. Saturday is so that we may believe.
As Christians, we are defined by Sunday, marked by Friday, but we live in Saturday… waiting, and as we wait, lamenting that things are not as they should be and living (and acting) with defiant hope that one day they will be.
Saturday is the day we each must answer these questions:
Do you believe a resurrection is coming?
Do you believe God is who He says He is?
Will you live and obey in the tension–awake to the pain of this world and anticipating the hope of the one to come?
Day 7 of 13, “Come Alive: Easter in Everyday Life”