This Easter weekend, Holy Saturday in particular, I got some interesting text messages:
One, from @erwinmcmanus, "It's the day between the days that changed the world. The dash - between the period . and the exclamation point!-between the cross and the tomb."
While a Jewish friend chided-"What do you Christians do now? Revert to Judaism?"
We would go to church as children on Good Friday for the reading of the Passion, and there was always a bit of sadness. The crucifix was draped in black cloth. There was no joy. Our Lord was dead, again. All day Saturday we waited, much as those earliest followers must have waited. Fortunately, we knew that there was another service later. The evening vigil mass was dramatic, beginning with the blessing of fire which created a sense of sparking our hope, warming our spirits that been a void without His presence. And of course Easter morning with candy and church and stiff new dresses and shiny tight shoes reminded us that things were right again as joyful, triumphant songs belted from the large organ.
What is the dash about? What is Holy Saturday all about?
Jesus, as the sin offering for all, made us all righteous on the Friday-just as the lamb slaughtered according to Mosiac law took the sin of the person. The price was paid. We are forgiven.
Of course, Sunday is the day we celebrate Jesus' victory over death. It was not enough that God paid the price for our expensive sinful natures to become holy. He showed again that nothing can keep Him from us. Neither sin nor death will keep Him from us.
Saturday is somehow a lost day, a dash. But as I was meditating on this, I began to see Saturday as a another sign of His gentle invitation.
You see, on Friday, God gave us everything we could possibly need to live. On Sunday, He asks us to spend our lives in relationship with Him.
God could have just snapped His fingers and had everyone in line. He had paid the penalty, so everyone was forgiven. It really was finished that Friday. Altho God desires relationship with us, He will not force Himself on us. He woos and calls, but we must answer.
Many people live in Saturday, indifferent, unaware, or unsure of what exactly happened. But some have chosen to step into Sunday-slightly confused, jubilant, unsilenced joy-and into that new life of resurrection, both Christ's and their own.