on Saturday

Yesterday was a beautiful day.
The sun was out. it wasn’t too hot.
All day I kept thinking that I should get out and run. Or at least walk the dog. soak up some of that sun.
But the only reason I got off my couch was to go get ice cream.

I was moody. and tired. and melancholy for no reason whatsoever.
The day before had been wonderful.  A day of good food, family adventure and friends over . And I knew that Sunday was Easter. My most favorite holiday.  But i still struggled to get in the spirit.

Lent passed me by. 
I gave something up. Sort of because I kept cheating.
I listened to some sermons. I read a little.
But I did not feel ready.

I pushed my cart through the narrow aisles of the grocery store that day. I hadn’t even made a list but i know that cooking can settle my soul in the same ways that running and writing can.
Maybe I just needed to chop and simmer.
I tossed things in my cart while something about resurrection kept running through my head.
“What is dead will be resurrected” 
over and over in my head on repeat.
And as I grabbed a few more limes I wondered why the wait.

Why this day in-between.
I thought briefly of the disciples holed up in sorrow.

They were not waiting for Sunday. 
They had no idea it was coming. 
They were just grieving.
Trying to figure out what to do next.
What it all means.

A Saturday full of loss and lies and confusion and doubt and sorrow and disbelief.

Why make them wait?

Friday the skies darkened. The curtain ripped.
On Sunday the tomb was empty.

Holy Thursday.
Good Friday 
and finally Easter.
But, Saturday gets skipped.
No one talks about Saturday. 

As I shopped and added more things to my cart my questions got more general.
Why does God make us wait period.

I just got back from church. And we all know to some degree what the sermon will be.
More people go to church on this day than any other day in the year. I think partly because we need to hear it out loud. We need to be reminded that...
The story doesn’t end at the cross.
The tomb is empty.
He is risen.
Sunday isn't just coming but Sunday is here.

Right before church I tried to get up early. Make my coffee find a quiet place on the couch and read something meaningful. I had failed most of Lent, but maybe I could cram in a few minutes of holy before church.

I read a bit.
I even googled my own questions.
Like why are there 3 days between the cross and the resurrection.
I did not find many answers. 
Eventually I just googled something simpler,  "Why does God make us wait?"
And there were a lot more answers to that, but not many of them sounded very fun.

In my impatience (yes, the irony does not escape me) I gave up my search and ended up on Facebook.
and read the most random of posts from the journalist Lisa Lieng that seemed to answer my questions: 
"Not religious but my friend Matt posted this today and I wanted to share:
Today is Holy Saturday (sometimes called Black Saturday). This is when the Christian tradition reflects on the aimlessness, fear, mourning, confusion and broken faith that Jesus' disciples must have experienced when, on Friday, they watched their God/teacher/friend be murdered without a clue as to what would happen next. Sunday had not yet come. The tomb was most assuredly not empty. Had they been lied to? Were they stupid? Would they pay for their allegiance? Where was God, now? Was he ever real? How could something so evil happen to someone so good? We-all of humanity-constantly revisit our own Saturdays.
If you are a Christian of any denomination, you probably know in your heart and believe in your mind that Sunday is coming...that Christ will rise and Alleluias will pour forth. Put that aside, even for a bit of time, today. Choose to identify with our brothers and sisters, both inside and outside the Church, whose lives are suspended in a perpetual Holy Saturday. Whatever they have believed to be true no longer is. Whatever comfort or identity they have had, it is gone. Whomever had been the object of their deepest affection has been taken from them. The redemption they had tasted has been stolen and replaced with bitterness and shock. Things are not hopeful. For them, Sunday means nothing. Everything is Saturday.

This is as much a part of the story of Christ's redemption as is the Crucifixion or Resurrection. We celebrate a God-man who chose to abandon status and comfort and experience this life alongside us. As Jesus chose to identify with us in our deepest fear and despair, entities that bore their most potent fruit on that Saturday, may we choose to do the same with our world. No sugarcoating, no "Sunday is coming!"....share in their questioning of where God is, or if the reality of God is even a possibility. Earn the right to share Sunday with others by being with them on Saturday. Because maybe YOU are going to bring Sunday to them. All things new. Brokenness to healing. Despair to exuberant joy. Saturday to Sunday."

Those disciples could not assure each other that Sunday was coming.
They didn’t dare say things like “God will not give you more than you can bare” or that “God has a plan” or that “Things happen for a reason”.

Their God had just been defeated.
On that Saturday, their God, that they had given up family and careers for was laid out in a tomb. Silent. Cold. And probably starting to smell bad.
In some of our darker moments, if we are really honest…that is sometimes how we feel too.

More of our life than we’d like to admit is Saturday.
In the wait.

We are lucky. 
We are Sunday people. Even on dark Fridays and black Saturdays and really really tired Mondays.

I’m still not totally sure why we have to wait.
Why God didn’t die and then raise again just a few moments later.
Why three days passed before Mary mistook him for the gardener.
Why three days passed before Peter and John ran out to investigate for themselves.
Three days before he showed his wounds to his disciples, another 8 before he lets Thomas put his hands into them.
Three whole days before he came to assure his people that all was not lost.

“Peace be with you” he said.
Trying to speak peace into their loss. Into their doubts and aches and questions and hurts.
“Receive” he said. 
“Forgive” he told them.
“Go”.

I still don’t like to wait.
If they gave out grades for patience I would get an F.
(and that F does not stand for forgiveness)

The Saturday part of the story almost feels mean.
To be fair, Christ had told them what would happen.
They just didn’t really believe it.
In Mark he tells them the ending well before marching into Jerusalem.  
“The son of man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. He will be killed, but three days later he will rise from the dead”
He told them exactly how it would end.
They just didn’t quite get it.
And we do the exact same thing.
Most of us know about Sunday.
but often we get stuck in Saturday anyways.

We don’t want to wait. 
On test results or phone calls returned or jobs to be offered or relationships to be reconciled.
But we have to. Sometimes for just 3 hours, or 3 days sometimes even 3 years.
Often, I can barely wait the three minutes for my microwave popcorn to pop.

Even though we know the ending and that those places of hard and waiting and ache are not it.
They are the parts right before it gets good.
In the part where there gardener isn’t really the gardener at all.

Maybe we need to remember this.
what it feels like to wait.
to forget the ending.
that even his best friends and relatives suffered and hurt and doubted
on Saturday.

And it is my job to offer the same things Christ did.
To people who know the ending and especially ones who do not.
To show up and speak words of
Peace.
Forgiveness.
and Hope.


on Saturday. and Sunday. and Monday. and Tuesday. and Wednesday. and Thursday. and Friday.


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