Yesterday many of us fasted, feasted, or walked the Stations of the Cross together. We sang songs, heard Scripture, prayed, and cried. We each attempted in our own way to enter into the horror of Good Friday. But if you are like me- it’s was done with a little bit of pretending. I can’t ever seem to get outside the fact that I know Sunday is Coming.
The first disciples did not have that luxury. They could not see the first ray’s of God’s new creation were poised, ready to pierce the darkness on Sunday morning. They could see only darkness. Feel only suffocating loneliness. And it must have been devastating. Try entering into Saturday from their perspective.
The darkness from 12-3pm was only the beginning. It was not only the desert landscape that was covered in thick darkness, it was their very souls. As the thick temple curtain tore in half, a thick, heavy, inescapably dark blanket of despair was cast over everything. The moment we now behold as an unbelievably glorious victory, they can only see as defeat. Everything had played out so much differently than what they expected. Everything. Had they been fooled, deceived, wasted the last three years of their lives? The blind had received sight, the hungry had been fed, the oppressed set free, but now Jesus was dead. The image of his bloodied, lifeless body being stripped from the cross and awkwardly carried to his tomb would be forever etched in their minds. You don’t forget something like that. The cries of the mob angrily shouting for his murder, the look of pure hatred in their eyes. The look in his eyes before he died and the searing loss you felt as he took his last breath. You can’t shake any of that.
Even though it had been predicted that Jesus would rise, it seemed as if God is the only one who knew that Sunday was coming. It had been predicted, but in the horror of the past few days that memory has slipped away. Imagine trying to get some sleep on Friday night. What do you get? A few hours? A few minutes? A few brief seconds? It was after that torturous night of little to no sleep and only regret that the first signs of Saturday’s sun start to show. Rays of light start to cast shadows as Jerusalem begins to wake up. But these rays don’t bring hope for the followers of Jesus, they only serve to renew the horror and grief of Friday. No, it was not all a terrible dream. Jesus’ body is really sealed in a tomb, the wood beams of the cross and earth at it’s base are are still stained with pools of his blood. Jesus really is dead. They must have felt inescapably alone. And now what? How do you go back to your life after this? How do you recover from this soul shaking grief?
There seemed to be no hope. Only darkness. And it was suffocating.
I get it, we know it won’t be long until the world learns that all is not as it seemed. Evil has not won. The powers have been disarmed. God has been at work in the darkness all along. His new creation just needed 24 more hours to break irreversibly into this world. But in the moments that crawl by on Saturday there is no hint as to what Sunday will hold. Today is a day for mourning. Feel it if you can.
The disciples are Hurt. Confused. Disappointed. Disillusioned. Grief-stricken. But all is not lost. Can we see ourselves in this story?
We know that God has acted, we trust that he will act again, but that faith still requires us to sometimes sit in the darkness.
As you fast today let the hunger pangs remind you of the cross, the agony of confusion, and your deep dependance on the Spirit to sustain.
Tomorrow we will feast, but today we fast.