This day lies between Good Friday and the glory of Easter Sunday, and is called either Holy Saturday, or more commonly, Black Saturday. Whilst often completely bypassed by many Protestant church traditions, as simply a period of waiting until “The Big Day”, I have been struck this week meditating on this Day-In-The-Middle of Easter weekend.
I think it is hugely important to pause between these two days. We remember that Christ was most definitely dead, but not yet risen. All too often in our chronically time-pressured world, we want to bypass trauma and grief. We want to skip over the tough times, and just press ahead to “the good times”. However, this often causes an inability to acknowledge the level of pain that trauma can bring, and end up devaluing the journey that trauma forces us to pass through.
In such times, we want someone to draw alongside us, and not offer platitudes. We do not want to hear the acidic phrase “Snap out of it”. We do not want to be patronised by those who tell us we must “move on” and everything will turn out ok. There is nothing that balms the soul like someone prepared to sit with us, and simply say, “I cannot know exactly what you are feeling, but I am deeply trying to imagine how hard this is. May I just sit with you?” When they pause, and sit with us in the pain, they do not flinch, or turn away. They do not try to explain. They give us the two most precious gifts possible – their time, and their presence. Now is not the time to try to fix things, or attempt to understand. Such things will eventually be faced, but not today.
Today is a day when the highest gift of all – that of pouring out of oneself for another- finds its highest expression in Jesus Christ. The most amazing consideration is that He is the only One who could actually say “I know exactly how you feel”, yet He will still take the time to sit with us as we adjust to harrowing emotional journeys. He will allow us to let the awareness of his knowing seep slowly into our wounded consciousness, in our own time.
Some of you reading this will have no idea what I am talking about.
Others will understand that the Balm of Gilead pouring into the rawest wounds you can ever imagine can help you breathe once more. Jesus is not into finger-snapping abracadabras. He is not that insensitive. He empathises totally and absolutely. This is why on arriving at Bethany to find Lazarus dead, he wept. He paused to share the pain, even though he knew that he would bring Lazarus to life again.
LOZENGE MOMENT – something to savour the taste of…
In a world full of hidden trauma, time-pressured expectations and the overwhelming need to be “Fine, thanks”, do you need just one day to stop the world?
And get off it?
When all you want to do is not speak, not explain how your soul aches, and try not even to feel, remember that The Ultimate Lover of Your Soul will simply sit with you for a while. He was prepared to endure Black Saturday, and then give you hope.. that even though you may be mourning, joy will come in the MORNING…