The Middle Child of Holy Week

This is my favorite day in Holy Week. The sheer loss and disorientation of Friday pours over into the most unrestful of Sabbaths. I guess I should clarify that “favorite” isn’t necessarily the best word. But it’s the most familiar to me. It’s the one I recognize and identify with the most. Holy Saturday is the dreadful chasm between the trauma of death’s reality and not-yet-fulfilled expectation of hope. So we sit. Traumatized by yesterday and hopeless for tomorrow. In this profound disorientation, we aren’t really even aware that tomorrow will come. So we wait.

In the chaos and disorientation of yesterday, there are a few things we can know. We know that Jesus is dead. That he was crucified, died and was buried. He came to tell the world that it was upside-down. He came to start a revolution to correct it. He preached a message against the Empire that love was greater than power. Power decided to test it, and power killed him. And on this Saturday, Jesus is dead.

If Jesus is dead then what do we believe in? Everything we’ve said has been a lie and has been for nothing. All the talk of the kingdom where our sins are wiped away isn’t here. And the God who was supposed to bring us into the kingdom was killed in front of our very eyes. In the trauma of Friday, there is no one left to pity but us.

These are Paul’s sentiments in 1 Corinthians 15 when he writes,

“If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised…. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished.If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead.”

But that’s a Sunday promise. The certainty of Sunday taunts those of us in the chaos of Saturday. On Saturday, we lean on nothing more than hope and belief. “Christ is Risen” is a certainty that is entirely foreign to those of us in perpetual Saturday.

Jesus told Peter to put away his sword when the guards came to arrest him. So all who follow love put away their swords. Those who follow power kept them out. And power won. In the continual Saturday, power always wins.

Unless Sunday comes. Unless what Jesus was saying comes true. Unless life is restored where death has taken it away. But that’s for Sunday.

If there ever is a Sunday.

This is why we live for the hope of Sunday. All we see is the death of the old while we await the creation of the new. Even though Saturday is all we’ve seen and known, we wait with awakened anticipation for Sunday. If Sunday ever comes.

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