“Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve” – John 16.20From David King:
Easter Saturday is a strange day. A full day for so many, getting DIY jobs done, watching box sets. But for the one following Jesus’ Easter journey – a curiously empty day. Good Friday and Easter Sunday are huge for the Christian – the two most important days of the year. But Easter Saturday – what are you meant to do?
Why not step into the shoes of those who were there? On the one hand there is the rejoicing on that Saturday. Pilate rejoicing that he had averted a rebellion at the minor cost of one man’s life – for another day at least. The Religious leaders congratulating one another that they had honoured God by dispatching another false Messiah. The crowds sharing jokes about the failure of the latest paper saviour.
On the other hand, there are the followers and family of Jesus. Peter wrestling with his failure at the key moment. But lest we think that his was the worst example of cowardice, think of the other 9 disciples who didn’t even make it into the courtyard. Rather, they fled after the confrontation in the garden. Think of Cleopas and his companion: devastated by the death of the one they had followed and fearful for their own lives, they prepare to flee Jerusalem the next day. Joseph of Arimathea, giving up his tomb and facing the prospect of it being a permanent memorial to the death of his dream that the kingdom of God was coming. A confused centurion. Think of the Marys, each loving Jesus in different ways, perhaps struggling with the sense of powerlessness, preparing the spices in a last futile display of love. Weeping.
Sunday would change everything. “…but your grief will turn to joy.”
We will have Easter Saturday moments, when everything has turned dark. When we can’t make sense of what is happening, or of what Jesus is doing. Unlike the followers of Jesus, we don’t live before the resurrection, but suspended between the resurrections. Looking back, we see Jesus’ resurrection, looking forward we hope for ours. In some ways, living between the resurrections makes it easier for us. We know how the story works out for Jesus. In other ways it is harder – we didn’t get to see the first resurrection and our wait for the next is longer than just a couple of days.
Whichever it is, when we find ourselves in an Easter Saturday moment, we know this for certain: “our grief will turn to joy”. We do not know how or when, but in the barrenness of our Easter Saturday, we hold on to the promise that it will.