In my part of the world, today is one of those days that can’t seem to make up its mind. It looks warm, but feels chilly. It is bright and sunny, with occasional showers. It is calm, with intermittent gusts of cold wind. It is a day, it seems, caught between winter and spring. Stuck in the liminal, liturgical space between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
The Christian holiday known as ‘Holy Saturday’ is my kind of day. While it is usually bright on the outside, it is a time to dwell in the darknesses, fears, and griefs of life. To sit in the negative space that gives Easter morning its meaning. To imagine, for one day at least, what it was like to have Jesus dead and buried. Finished.
That ancient Saturday was empty and forlorn, to be sure. But sometime on Sunday morning, the whole picture was solarized– the darkness became light, and the light became dark, and there was a whole lot of gray in between (to quote Spencer). On that morning, absolutely everything changed. Many of our hopes, dreams, and possibilities were realized. But in that fulfillment, a whole new set of questions were raised. The resurrection was the solution to many theological, social, and personal problems. But it also raised a whole new set of questions, not the least of which are several millenia of prayers that begin, “God, if you could raise Jesus from the dead, then why can’t you…”
Which is perhaps why we observe Holy Saturday: to remembered the questions still unanswered, sicknesses still suffered, and hopes still unfulfilled. To remember that death may be defeated, but it’s still pretty damned intimidating. To sit in solidarity with those whose vindication is far from complete. And so, for one day at least, we wait.