One day I finally realised that in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, there was a Saturday. Growing up, I never fully grasped the grief of Jesus’ death, until I fully realised the importance of the Saturday between these two monumental days.
We’re privileged with the perspective that we know that Jesus resurrects from the dead, so perhaps the impact of Good Friday and Holy Saturday has been forgotten in the party of Easters ever since the first Easter.
But if you put yourselves in Mary’s shoes and the disciples’ shoes in real time for just a moment: they did not know. In fact, the very day before, they witnessed their hope, Saviour, Messiah, king, friend, son, loved one die the most brutal death known to the culture of that day. How exactly do you move on from that?
You kind of can’t. Death, pain, and grief aren’t just things you forget, even if you enter into a season of celebration, even if Jesus conquered death. The good news is that death does not have the final say – it never did. But the grave news (pun intended) is that life is a reality we have to live through, even if we know the ending. Saturdays are something we have to endure, even if we know Sundays are right around the corner.
So as I was reflecting and praying for this prayer series, I’ve been particularly excited about this day, the very last day. This would be my ‘last Lenten prayer’ and it’s the perfect ending of the never-ending nature of Holy Saturdays.
When I think about the Saturday that Mary and the disciples had to live through, I realise that the day-long experience is a condensed version of life, the kind of life that Ecclesiastes talks about – vapour, misty, hevel. They had to wrestle with the fact that they dedicated their lives to their Saviour, who promised that He would ‘rise from the dead’, who is currently in fact dead.
Doesn’t that sound vaguely similar? Life is full of unfulfilled promises, dreams that were crushed, plans that were ruined, and expectations that were shattered to dust.
Some of the disciples decided to return to their previous jobs. Some of the disciples took care of each other. Some of them stayed in denial and in grief. One of the disciples decided to end his life.
But remember the good news: death does not have the final say. Jesus rose from the dead after the Saturday, proving that He has conquered death for all time.
Therefore, at the end of this Lenten series, I leave you with the good news: this temporal life does not have the final say.
The victories, the losses, the dreams fulfilled, the longings left for dead, the loved ones, the forgotten ones – these all pale in comparison to the Sunday we’re called to celebrate. All the good and bad of this earthly life is vapour compared to the resurrected life we get to live right now and after death.
So my question to you is: if your life is a longsuffering Saturday (even the best parts of life), what does Easter Sunday mean to you?