Between the work-week and the day of worship there is a quiet day when stress fades and rest looms like the mast of a loaded supply ship on the horizon gazed upon by shipwrecked mariners. That’s what Saturday is in my dreams. In reality, Saturday is when all the dirty clothes, and all the dirty dishes, all the dirty bathrooms, and all the empty cupboards must be washed, folded, scrubbed, loaded, filled and restocked for the next week’s labor. Saturday is childhood’s halcyon mirage, the space between work and wonder, only occasionally reclaimed by force and the distance of a long black ribbon of roadway and the siren allure of fast food.
Synthesize the dissonance and place it between desperation, disaster, and the triumph of the Trinity, and you have the Holy Week’s sandwich. Saturday on this weekend like no other is when all the work of being a disciple is really done.
Think about it. If you’ve placed your hopes in a man of this world, one who promises big and ends lifeless, you’ve lost nothing on Friday. He is another imposer in a long train of false messiah’s and you’ve just got to wait until the next spin-master shows up. If you’ve believed He is God, and hope to continue on believing, you have some heavy lifting to do. The dirty clothes of doubt, the mess of disappointment, the false security of cynicism have to be taken care of. How? How does one reconcile the fact that at the darkest moment in history, God was silent.
Into every life a little Friday night must come. Like Father, we are asked to lay down our beloved Son, our precious hope, our life’s work, our daily joy, the soft cheek of our favorite human, the emptiness swallowing up every ray of light. And in that silent pain our false gods are tested.
The gods of human hope, human expectation, human success must fall so that the God of Sunday morning may reign over us in truth. Until Friday, Jesus’ disciples were on an easy path. They followed a Man they could see. After Good Friday, Jesus’ disciples were in the crucible of a faith under fire. Peter’s denial was the dirty laundry that had to be aired, repented, chastened and cleansed if his faith was to endure.
Then there follows Saturday. Why is it more sermons aren’t preached about waiting? About the silence before hope that produces the profoundly moving faith that holds on, and having done all, to stand. It certainly lacks glamour.
And into every life a little Saturday must slough along, the day of reckoning that tests our endurance, that fits us for the race that ends with victor’s crowns. The life of faith is just that, patience when in pain, holding on when we wish we could just let go, Saturday between the death and resurrection. He is silent. He is patient. He is yet to come that we might grow up and be strong while we wait the ultimate Sunday morning, the one that lasts forever.
So hold on. Read the gospels through. Cheer a lonely traveler. Welcome an outcast and wait with all your doubt and fear and wonder for what must yet come, though does not appear over today’s horizon. In that day we will all share something in common with Jesus, our older brother: an empty tomb.