I was 9 years old. It was Good Friday, and part of the day’s required activities included periodical Bible readings from the crucifixion story. I had heard the story dozens of times but it had never truly permeated my soul. I remember tears running down my face as my mom read the narrative of Christ’s gruesome crucifixion. Why did he have to die? Why did they kill him? New life had been brought to this story of old. I felt for the first time as if I were there. The intensity of the moment of Jesus’ death penetrated my heart. Even though I knew the end of the story, I was suddenly able to comprehend the emotion felt on that dreadful day. I sobbed. I grieved. An intense hunger for Sunday stirred within me. Please let it be true. Please, let him come back to life! But I would have to wait. Today is only Friday.
I can imagine how the disciples felt on Saturday. They awoke to life that had been shattered to pieces. Hope for salvation had died. Yesterday they shamelessly left everything to follow a man that was to save their people. Today that man was dead. People had accused them of craziness for their life of complete surrender, and it dawned on them that perhaps people were right. They hid in fear for their lives while grieving the loss of their leader. Life was chaotic and confusing. Questions. Doubts. Darkness. Hopelessness. This was not what they had signed up for. Jesus was supposed to lead them to new life, justice and victory. Now all that remained was loneliness and desolation.
Perhaps you have lived in this darkness. Perhaps you have experienced the pain of loss, the grief of separation, the blur of confusion, the vivid sting of hopelessness. Is today Saturday? Are you wandering in a desert of loneliness and hopelessness? Do you find yourself questioning what you desperately want to believe because circumstances don’t reconcile with the message of hope you have left everything to follow?
I wait with anticipation each year for celebratory Easter Sunday. I have great memories of waking early on Easter morning, dressing into my flowery blue and white dress with my favorite lacy socks and tiptoeing down the kitchen to indulge in my mom’s famous Ukrainian Easter Bread. Oh how I love Easter Sunday. Sunday’s joy is birthed in the wake of Saturday’s grief.
Today is Saturday. Grief and despair. But there is hope, Sunday is coming.
“…weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5