I’ve always thought the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter is an odd time for Christians, in a Twilight Zonish kind of way. Yesterday we re-experienced the tragedy of Christ’s crucifixion, yet we know the glory that awaits us tomorrow. Today, we continue to mourn even as we sense the celebration ahead.
There’s something in this peculiar Saturday that intrigues me. It quietly seems to open a window in the soul that was firmly shut on Friday and is usually overlooked on Sunday when the whole roof blows off. The window opens to reveal a world where spiritual gravity seems to flow in reverse. Instead of good flying high over evil, it plummets to the ground, caught in some strange gravitational pull. A black hole sun rises to cast darkness over the earth.
In such a world, evil can’t be overcome by sheer force of glory. Evil can only be conquered if it is first allowed to conquer. Good wins only by losing.
I don’t think these dynamics disappear after today. Saturday only reveals something unexpected about the world, much like quantum mechanics reveals the everyday strangeness of quarks.
I experience this world whenever I anxiously face the future, praying for a miracle, only to hear God whispering for me to pray instead for the fortitude to endure the worst case scenario.
If I can find that window in my soul that looks out over the peculiar landscape between Good Friday and Easter, what I experience is an eclipse of hope and a plunging into deep darkness. But that’s not all I experience.
Wandering in the dark, I discover I am far from alone. Something lives in the darkness, quite familiar to the writer of Psalm 139: “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you” (v. 11-12).
Once I face my darkness and discover a living Presence at work even there, I lose my fear of it. And when I lose my fear, its power over me is broken. I know, that whatever else the future may hold, it also contains a tomb I will leave behind empty.