I’ve always wondered what it must have been like to live in that nauseous limbo between the first Good Friday and Easter Sunday, to wake up with the image of a limp and bloodied messiah (though maybe…false messiah?) etched into my vision without the healing salve of resurrection to bring significance and peace to the roiling ache.
How quickly would my trust and devotion bleed out of me to join the crimson mud beneath the cross of the dead man? Would I flinch at every little sound, just waiting for the soldiers or violent crowd to begin their search for the remnants of the incendiary prophet’s followers? And if they came to my door, what would I say? Would I bathe in a desperate mixture of tears, doubt, and denial so the angel of death might pass my miserable self by?
Would I despair?
Would I allow the dark current to pull me under?
Would I be able to keep living in a world suddenly and viciously rendered absurd?
I don’t know. It seems like the only honest answer that could be given on a day of lightless uncertainty.
But then: pulse. movement, speech, rumors, hope appearance touch restoration new-life.
And there is no going back, no undoing of this stark watershed of history. We now live in the irrevocable abundance of the resurrection, flushed with the infinite wonder of redemption.
Redemption – the miracle in which darkness augments the beauty of in-breaking light, suffering produces a hope that does not disappoint, and doubt becomes an invitation to venture trembling fingers into eternal scars of love.
Holy Saturday is a day to dwell on silence. For me, it is a day to confront my fear of silence, my anxiety that God has left me on my own to muddle through life. And yet, the resurrection has come: the hushed cosmos erupting into endless praise for what God has done.
I’m reminded that even in the tortured silence of Holy Saturday God was moving to break the chains of separation and dissolve the power of death.
So when I find myself wounded, sitting in a too-quiet room with a disquieted mind wondering why or why not, I can cling to the comfort that such doubt is not a shameful, disturbing departure from Christian life but is and always has been a part of our history. The question is, though, whether or not I will be faithful and keep my eyes and ears open even in the midst of the intense darkness or struggle because I have the promise that God has not, will not ever, abandon me and that some day, whether tomorrow or in eternity, I will see what beauty he was working in and through me and will be in awe of it all.
Easter Sunday doesn’t dismiss the anguish of Holy Saturday, but gives it purpose and direction. The resurrection doesn’t negate the suffering of life, but gives us the strength to declare that even in the throes of our suffering there is hope and the beauty of redemption; tear-choked voices can find a song, bruised feet can learn to dance, and weary hearts can beat with passion.
A day of silence, a day of pain, a day of honesty, a day of hope.