For Christians, this is a very special week. By tradition, this week follows the last week of Jesus’ life. We often begin by observing Palm Sunday, which is the triumphal (and misunderstood) entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. We commemorate Good Friday which is the crucification of Jesus. Finally, we celebrate Easter Sunday which is the resurrection of Jesus.
However, we seem to skip over Saturday. The day in-between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It’s the day after Jesus had died and the day before he lives. For the followers of Jesus during these actual events, this day is marked with doubt, disappointment, and confusion. On Saturday, there is still a body in the tomb. The miracles have ended, and the movement destroyed. Life as they imagined it, has been buried. Their hope in a conquering king has been murdered like a common criminal. It’s over. Saturday rests between doubt and faith.
Have you been there?
Have you been disappointed with God?
Disillusioned by religion?
Has doubt sunk in and your faith died?
Have you come to the end of yourself?
No wonder why we skip Saturday.
We skip from Friday to Sunday so we don’t have to feel the the tomb. We’d rather ask for forgiveness and skip right to a praise song than allow the reason behind that mistake to sink in. We’d prefer to jump right to the resurrection than face our own inner decay. We’d rather suppress our own doubt for a day so we can act like a Christian on Sunday. Sometimes I wonder if Christians are too good at feeling forgiven. We never pause to feel the pain we caused. I wonder if our faith seems shallow to others because we never went deep into our doubt.
For me, this is what makes this Jesus story so profound. He could have gotten up the very next day but he didn’t. Jesus experienced the tomb. He took on the darkness inside. He didn’t run from doubt, but laid inside it.
On Saturday, he invites us to follow him there.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)
On Saturday, we go to the tomb. We go right into our doubt, disappointment, and disillusionment. We look inside our questions, habits, and hurts. We sit with our ghosts.
When you go there today, do not go alone. Only Jesus went to the tomb alone. Face your fears with a trusted friend. Discuss your doubt with your spouse. Take time to listen to another’s pain and confusion. Listen well. True Christian community is not standing together on Sunday. It’s holding each other on Saturday.
For a day, don’t try to fix it. Don’t try to ignore it. Don’t rush past it to Sunday. No, Saturday is meant to be experienced. Let it sink in just as the first followers of Jesus did many years ago. The great beauty of faith is not the absence of doubt but the courage to sit in it.
Sunday will bring life.
Saturday invites you to let something die.