In just a few short weeks we will be celebrating Easter. We will make the journey of Holy Week from Palms to an Upper Room to a Cross, and then to an Empty Tomb. So often when we leave the church on Friday we do not reflect on the time between that dark night and the bright morning of Easter. Yet, perhaps God is calling us to pause and reflect in this in-between time.
We know about Good Friday and the cross, about sorrow and death. All humankind knows about suffering, brutality, and injustice, about tragic endings, about death, all of which are part of the human condition, in our private lives and in the life of the world. We Christians also know about Easter Sunday and the promise, the hint of resurrection for the rest of us, because Jesus is risen from the dead.
However, our lives are not all about Good Friday or all about Easter Sunday. We experience suffering and abandonment, exile and loss, and we face death, our own and the deaths of those we love. We know ourselves as sinners, and our lives as broken.
And we also taste forgiveness, we taste hope, and we taste new life, we catch sight of it here and there, get word of it, listen and wait and hope...we remember that we are dust, and to dust we shall return, and yet we know ourselves also as destined for glory...pain and hope, dying and rising again...all humanity waiting, waiting, waiting...and we understand a little more why faith is best described as trust. We live most of our lives in that in-between, Holy Saturday-feeling time, the longest day as it is often referred to.
On that longest day we come face to face with the reality of our powerlessness. We couldn't stop Friday from happening, and there is nothing we can do to make Sunday come any quicker. We must face that emptiness (even if we choose to ignore it with plans for Easter dinners and Easter egg hunts.)
In the emptiness of waiting, we begin to learn something that the gods of this world cannot bear, the knowledge that they do not want us to know: at the very point of our failure and betrayals, when we taste our own impotence and limit, if we are not afraid to live in the absence, we discover God.
The in-between time is God's time. It is the time when we learn to trust Jesus' sacrifice of love which death can neither conquer or understand. In this in-between time we begin to see that it is God who has made death not an instrument to terrorize us into submission, but to call us more intimately to God's side. In the darkness of Holy Saturday we discover the power of our waiting. We come to the end of our way and the beginning of God's way. It is only Christ who can carry us over into Easter morning.
So let us journey, focused not on the end point, but on the journey itself. Allowing God to become present to us in an ever-new and ever-more intimate and personal way; and on that bright Easter morning our cries of “Alleluia! He is Risen!” will rise with even greater passion and joy.
With the Greatest of Hope!