The best thing about Easter is that lightness that comes from the weight of the stone rolled off the tomb of my heart. My favorite blogger said it much better. He talks of Holy Saturday:
This day, the Saturday that can’t know if there will ever be a Sunday, is the day we live in, you and I, today and every day for the whole of our lives. This is all we are given to know. Easter Sunday? That’s tomorrow, the day after today. We’ll never get there in time. We can believe in Easter Sunday, but we can’t be sure. We can’t know for sure. We can’t know until we’re out of time. Here, in time, there’s just this day, this dreadful Saturday of not knowing
He quotes from Paul:
If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. … If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead …
There’s the separation, if there was no Easter, if Christ BE NOT RAISED, then our hopes are dashed. Our hope is more than dashed, our lives are a sham. Blissfully, thankfiully, blessedly, Christ has been raised from the dead. The Good Friday stone, the one that locked down my hope in the hour of Jesus’ suffering, the breath I held, the breath held by all creation for that hope to materialize, has been exhaled, because he lives, because he rose, because he overcame, because he overcomes.
When I was little, I couldn’t watch the dramatizations of the crucifiction. My grandfather would tuck me into his neck and shuttle me outside to sit in the foyer of the church and eat butterscotch candies until the actors playing angels rolled the stone away. Other depictions of violence didn’t bother me as much. I could handle them, but watching someone play Jesus on that cross was unimaginable to me. Mia is the same way. She’ll watch the darkest movies with evil characters and violent deeds, but watching the Easter story on the Christian Children’s network sent her into hysterics. What is the difference? To us, I think, the death of Christ, real or re-imagined, is more than we can take. It’s a hopeless feeling, watching a death we understand that WE caused and being helpless to stop it. We can wait for the joyful hope of resurrection. We can hope for that Sunday morning in our shining new clothes and fresh faces, but until Easter arrives, until the tomb is, indeed, empty and Jesus has been resurrected, we are, as Paul says, of all (wo)men, most miserable.
My favorite blogger is less sanguine about Christian life than am I. He notes that we live in Saturday, hopeful for the resurrection, but seeing death at every turn. I can understand that. I live in a world that seems unkind, where truth speaks to power and power wins, where justice is subverted and evil runs free, and I suppose that hope that I have, that God’s wisdom and timing are perfect probably makes me a fool to the world, but every Easter finds me confident again that Christ did not suffer and die in vain, that my hope is not dead and that after the period of darkness and hopelessness, the Light reigns. Christ and my hope are resurrected again and again, which makes my hope stronger with each passing year.
I still have a hard time watching a crucifixion scene, imagining that my sin bore through his hands and side and pierced his brow, but my hope says that I am forgiven and my soul is resurrected. No, on Holy Saturday, I cannot KNOW with certainty the Son will rise, but my faith makes me hold on, because he is the fulfillment of my hope, that precipitous, anxious, yearning, aching hope.