Good Friday is an easy blog to write about, the fallen-ness of human nature (after-all “all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God” and the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord”).
It would be easy too, to write about our need of a Saviour and the amazing action of God who left the glories of heaven to step down to the earth he created to suffer and die, in our place, for our sins.
In fact I’m sure many Christians blogged this sort of stuff yesterday.
Tomorrow, I’m sure the internet will be awash with blogs talking about Jesus’ resurrection shows that death has been defeated, sin has been conquered and relationship with the Father restored for those who choose to put their faith in Christ.
But I want to blog about today, Holy Saturday, the day after Good Friday, with the body of God incarnate dead and sealed in a stone cold tomb. The day before the resurrection, when tragedy was turned to victory.
Today is a day of doubts, we see the disciples run and hide in upper-rooms, or quit it all together and return to the fishing trade, or walk off from Jerusalem to Emmaus (remember Jesus had instructed them to stay in Jerusalem). A day when dreams died, an disappointment reigned, questions hung unanswered in the air.
The first Holy Saturday was a pessimistic day, the only people who had any faith for a resurrection were the Chief Priests, the scribes and the Pharisees -those who feared it the most, I wonder if their doubts were rising? “Perhaps Jesus really was who he said he was?” Maybe in the depth of their hearts they might have been asking whether they had just made a terrible, terrible mistake?” -I wonder?
I wonder if our lives sometimes feel a bit like a Holy Saturday?
where we look back at our own surrendering of our lives to Christ, and look forward to his return, but now sometimes we get plagued with doubts? Perhaps we are disappointed about how things have worked out? Maybe deep down we worry we have got it all wrong?
And maybe our Holy Saturday hasn’t just been 24 hours, perhaps it has been a long time, perhaps even years?
In my life, I have had some wonderful mountain top experiences, but I have had some valley times too. I believe Holy Saturday feels like a day of a spiritual desert, and deserts are tough places, but places in which God often does his deepest and most profound work within us, but most of us want to escape the desert, just as most Christians want to either rewind to Good Friday or fast forward to Easter Day, but to do this misses out on what we can learn in the from Holy Saturday.
If we rush past Holy Saturday, often our Easter Message often sounds glib and insincere.
If we have just an Easter Sunday Morning faith, we have a great theology of victory and power -which is great- but we also (I believe) need to have a faith that can cope with the pain, suffering, complex questions and difficulties of following Jesus in a world that is broken.
I have heard people talk about the “already and not yet” of the Kingdom of God, meaning that the Kingdom of God can -and does- break into real peoples lives but the fullness of this in its entirety has still yet to be seen.
Recently I read Pete Greig’s books “Red Moon Rising” and “Dirty Glory” and was struck by how he started an international prayer ministry whilst it looked like his wife might die of a brain tumour.
I remember reading about David watson and John wimber both taught the Church to expect God’s miraculous healing miracles in the here and now -and have seen many, many people pray and receive miraculous healing- and yet both of these great men died of cancer.
I struggle with Holy Saturday.
I struggle with waiting.
I wonder why it took 7 years after first meeting Allana to end up marrying her, why the wait and the pain?
Mike Pilivachi talked about waiting around 17 years to leave his job and become a Pastor, why the wait and the frustration?
why didn’t Jesus rise a day earlier on Holy Saturday? why the wait?
Actually I don’t know why God waited 24 hours, nor do I know about any other waits, but I do wonder if one day I’ll understand? The resurrection, like all waits, we have to trust God’s goodness, even when sometimes that takes what can feel like ore faith than we have at the time.
I wonder, the disciples must have remembered Jesus talking about rising from the dead, I wonder if deep within them there was a small flickering light of hope burning away in the depth of a disciples heart?
Perhaps there is something you are faithfully clinging onto God for, and you can identify with this picture of Holy Saturday when you are believing for something even though the wait might be tough.
Perhaps as we wait for Easter Day, Holy Saturday can teach us that one day every doubt will be resolved, every question answered, problem solved as the King of Glory will return with his rule and reign.
I remember hearing Delirous play “every little thing is going to be all right” and at first I objected, Jesus said “in this life you will have trouble”, but then Martin Smith (the lead singer) said “It will be all-right in the end, and if its not all-right its not the end”… A former vicar friend of mine used to say of the book of revelation “I’ve read the end of the book and we win”.
Yet today is Holy Saturday, we are not without hope, Jesus will rise, but at the moment the Sun has yet to rise, and sometimes the night is darkest before the dawn, but the dawn will come.