Today is Holy Saturday, the day between the death of Jesus and the resurrection. It’s the day that most of us want to skip over, the part that so rarely gets acknowledged, especially on a day of easter egg hunts and shining blue skies. I originally posted this 7 years ago (crazy how fast time flies honestly, it seems like yesterday and hard to believe we are celebrating The Refuge’s 9th Easter together). Last night after our small-but-so-sacred Good Friday gathering, a friend messaged me and reminded me that this post was what she needed to hear again this year. So I thought I’d share it this Saturday, with capital letters and a few small changes.
Years ago, the Refuge did an intense series over Lent where we put ourselves in the cycle of the last three days of Holy Week, starting with Friday–the night Jesus was crucified–with a look at death. Then we moved to Saturday, the day after, when the sorrow, shock, and lament at the reality of loss kicks in. And on Easter Sunday we looked at the new life and hope that comes through the resurrection.
We spent the majority of our time focusing in on Friday and Saturday because they are the most overlooked days when it comes to typical Easter revelry. But if we are honest, they are the place that we live the most. We live in a Genesis 3 world, a world of brokenness. This means death, shame, loss, doubt, insecurity, confusion are part of our human experience. I spent years trying to cover this part of life up, pretending it didn’t exist, that it wasn’t okay to acknowledge how hard and dark and confusing life can feel because I was a “good christian.”
And now, I am continuing to learn the art of acknowledging the beauty of Friday and Saturday and Sunday living.
Without death & pain & tears & suffering, we can’t really experience life.
I get that now, more than ever, but I will also say that I have an internal pain-avoider-meter that wants to skip Friday and Saturday and land on Sunday. What is interesting for me how un-Christian it feels to focus too much on Friday and Saturday. When we did the series, I felt a little guilty like we were torturing people by purposefully and intentionally staying on Friday and Saturday for longer than might feel comfortable. Even now, as I re-write this, I can feel that pull inside that says people are so sick of hearing about pain. And so often this means that we avoid honesty.
We forget that without death, we cannot have life.
Without pain & suffering, we cannot experience healing and God’s comfort.
The propserity gospel skips over that part. It makes it seem like good Christians, faith-filled people, need to learn how to live in Resurrection Sunday all of the time.
It feels dishonest. And I think it is dishonest.
Jesus was pretty clear that in this world we’d have a lot of trouble. that life would be hard. That we’d experience great pain, great sorrow, great loss, and following Him meant some pretty big costs.
But the beautiful part–the Sunday part–was that in the midst of all of it we could also have access to God’s peace, hope, life. That Genesis 1 is part of the story, too, and part of Christ’s hope.
For some, these things might be easier to access than for others. And I believe we have to be careful that we don’t make the “not-so-good-at-Sunday-people” feel like losers because it’s just not where they are living at the moment.
We might have more to learn from Friday and Saturday people than we think. When I see my friends grieve, let themselves be angry at God, say hard things out loud, I learn to let myself go there, too.
Real intimacy with God, with other people, requires us to live in not just Sunday but Friday & Saturday, too.
I love that both pain & beauty can exist in the same experience.
And I hate that both pain & beauty can exist in the same experience.
I want all good, no bad. I want ease, not discomfort. I want happy, not sad. I do not want my kids to hurt. I don’t want to hurt. I want everyone to feel free and loved and whole 100% of the time and not have to experience the pain of lost jobs, lost relationships, lost dreams, lost hope.
But that’s not how life works.
The resurrection means nothing without the sting of Friday’s death and the sorrow of Saturday’s grief.
I am the first to say “I am tired of Friday and Saturday. God, when’s Sunday coming??”
But i am practicing the spiritual discipline of truth telling, of staying in the moment and forcing myself to live in the tension of sadness, loss, anger, confusion, doubt, disillusionment instead of falsely skipping to where I think I am “supposed to be.”
I am learning that real life is this crazy combination of Friday-Saturday-Sunday.
They all bleed together in some weird mysterious way.
Maybe a piece of our spiritual journey is learning to embrace and celebrate the three-day weekend.
ps: my friend Jenny, who curates all kinds of beauty at the Refuge, made this cool picture of these three movements.