Some of the most powerful and inspiring words I’ve ever heard about today:
This isn’t Sunday.
This isn’t Friday.
This is Saturday.
The day after this but the day before that. The day after a prayer gets prayed but before it gets answered. The day after a soul gets crushed way down but before it gets at all lifted up.
It’s this kind of strange day, this Saturday.
It’s the in-between day. Not Friday. Not Sunday. In between despair and joy. In between utter confusion and blinding clarity. In between bad news and good news. In between darkness and light. In between hate and love. In between death and life. It’s the in-between day.
On Good Friday our sins get paid for. On Easter Sunday our hope is brought to life. Saturday is the day with no name, the day when nothing happened.
Saturday is the day your dream died. You wake up and you’re still alive. You have to go on, but you don’t know how. Worse, you don’t know why. It brings up this odd question, this strange story: Why is there a Saturday? Why is there a Saturday? It doesn’t further the storyline. If Jesus is going to be crucified then resurrected, why not get on with it? Just die on the cross then boom, resurrection. Why is it just those two events but over three days? There is a reason. There is a reason for Saturday.
The story of Easter isn’t a two-day story. It’s a third-day story.
The trouble with a third-day story is you don’t know it’s a third-day story when you’re in the middle of it. Nobody saw Sunday coming. That is the bad thing about Saturday.
I said before Saturday is the day when nothing happens. That’s not quite right. Something happens on Saturday. Silence. After trouble hits you, after the agony of Friday, you call out to God. “God, help me! Hear me! Listen to me! Respond to me! Do something! Say something! Rescue!” Nothing. On Saturday, in addition to the pain of Friday, there is the pain of silence and absence of God.
“What happened today on earth on Saturday? There is a great silence, a great silence and stillness. A great silence because the king sleeps. God has died in the flesh, and hell trembles with fear.” (an ancient homily, written over 1,600 years ago)
- John Ortberg
On Saturday, the disciples believed Jesus had failed. Jesus failed. The man they believed to be Divine, the promised Messiah, and their Savior was in a tomb. Everything they had planned for the rest of their life was shattered and gone.
We all experience this on the post side of pain, we all experience Saturday. Our Saturdays usually last more than a day, but there is a reason for them. Something God is doing behind the scenes or deep in our spirits that we cannot see or feel or touch. But there is a reason for it. It’s not fun, it’s not easy, it requires patience and a healthy processing through our pain, but know that God is at work.
And more importantly, never, ever forget the truth:
Sunday is coming…