It’s Saturday. The day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It’s the day in between death and life. My Savior was hammered onto a wooden beam and died yesterday. Light of the world, snuffed out like a candle. Violence, rage meets innocence, obedience.
Why is Easter so muted as a celebration? Why doesn’t anyone say it’s their favorite holiday? Why are we more keen to worship a Baby at his birth than that same Man at his death? Is it because it’s so gory, so shocking? So gruesome that we shrink away? Because it pricks our consciences and tells us it’s our fault? His suffering means that we are to blame?
It’s easier to celebrate when the rest of the world joins in with presents and traditions and decorations and constant promptings of the “spirit” of the season. It’s harder to join when recalling beatings, a mistrial, and an execution. It’s easier to celebrate a Messiah far away in history, requiring nothing of us but hope, than a conscious examination of our own short comings and failures that remind us that we need a Savior to save us from ourselves.
Why? His birth brings us hope. But His death! Ah, His death grants us life!
Is it because his life on earth ends in such hurried, violent tumult and our unfulfilled expectations? We want a savior that changes our circumstances for the better – not one who models humble sacrifice for others. We want political activism – not silence as a defense and a deeper look at our own mess.
But on this day, in between, this gap between our shattered plans and God’s unerring story of restoration, I pause. I’m not any better at this Christianity thing than anyone else. I just want to focus on Someone today and not myself. I want to force myself to look at the pain and chaos that my selfish choices cause. And then I want to look to the perfect One who was never less than God but never more than man who died to set me free.
Everything else out there tells me that if I try hard enough or sacrifice long enough I’ll reach peace and enlightenment and tame the beast that is self. But Easter tells me that though I can never measure up to the impossible standard, Someone did and gives His merit to me freely. Free, a word so misused today. But I take hold of this gift, knowing I can never repay. It’s out of this gift that I want to live – not striving towards it. Out of love and joy and thankfulness and rest in the fact that my God has made a way for me to be forgiven – not constantly working to measure up.
That is worth living for in this now and not yet between His death and resurrection and in this long stretch of Saturdays between His resurrection and our final restoration with God.1