Saturday Between the Cross and the Empty Tomb
It is Saturday. It is one of the most unusual Saturdays on the calendar. Generally, we think of Saturday as the beginning of the short weekend, a play day, a day to see family, a day to do much needed house or yard work. But, one Saturday every year is very different from the others- the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
I have never fully known what to do with this day. The closest we get to a service of worship, generally, is an egg hunt on church property. Of course, there is a name for this day in the Christian calendar. It is Liminal Saturday. Liminal comes from the Latin word limnus which means doorway. It is the limbo day between the cross and the resurrection. It was a day when the disciples were between complete despair and elation. It was the day where the mother and disciples of Jesus were trying to get reoriented to life without him. And, for the modern Christian, it is generally a day for contemplation of the whole event.
However, annually on this particular day, something always strikes me. It was the day that no one new anything, where nothing made sense at all. The resurrection had not yet occurred, giving meaning to the whole thing and hope for eternity. The cross seemed about as sensible as pigs flying AND ruling the universe. So, rather than a day of contemplation, I’m confident that the first Liminal Saturday was a day of stunned silence and seemingly unanswerable questions. What just happened? Why didn’t he come down? How could they get away with this? Where do we go from here? The cross, at that point made no sense whatever. The grave was still full, leaving no better sense of the future. I’m sure that the locked room filled with disciples and the ladies preparing to attend to the bodies are evidence of little expectation of resurrection among even his family and friends.
Today is a day where I think about all of the stuff that makes absolutely no sense. I think about God’s kingdom come to earth on an earth that is doing everything in its power to extinguish the idea of God. I think about how God’s heart for his church is to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly before him in a world where injustice seems to be on the increase, mercy and humility are rare commodities even in the church. I think about how God could fix things if he were so inclined, but chooses to fix things largely through those of us who need some fixing ourselves. I think about the return of Christ that would do nicely if it were today, but it is still on hold for reasons we will not know until heaven.
The great thing about this Saturday for us, however, is the perpetual hope that addresses all of our questions simply because we know what happened on Easter Sunday. You can pile up the questions a mile high. You can leave them unanswered for now. You can meditate and ruminate all you want. You can puzzle with me. But, we should do it with a quiet confidence that every one of them will one day be answered. It will all make sense someday, because it all made sense the very next day- the day after Saturday.