Monday, April 9, 2012

Holy Saturday Moments

Yesterday was Resurrection Sunday—the biggest celebration of the Christian Church! What a gift we have in being alive in the post-resurrection world. 

But what about those who are living in a “Holy Saturday moment”, the day before the resurrection? This man, whom they called Rabbi, Master, Brother, Son—the man they believed had come to take over the world is dead. Their hopes and dreams are gone. Jesus did not do what they thought he would do. 

There are many people, even believers, who are living in a “Holy Saturday moment” right now. They can’t yet see the victory that the resurrection has given them—they are suffering and waiting when all they can see at the moment is fear, uncertainty, darkness and death. 

I have lived lots of Holy Saturday moments. We all will at one time or another. Here’s what my Lenten devotional said we should do if we find ourselves facing a trial or grief that feels insurmountable—as we stand by watching our hopes and dreams as they are beaten, bloodied, crucified—dead: As you stand there in this strange, powerful mixture of recognition and horror, bring bit by bit into the picture the stories on which you have lived. Bring the hopes you had when you were young. Bring the bright vision of family life, of success… Bring the longings of your heart. They are all fulfilled here, though not in the way you imagined. This is the way God fulfilled the dreams of his people. This is how the coming king would overcome all his enemies. 

Our hopes and dreams may be dead. Things did not turn out like we planned. We had great visions of what we would become, of what our children would become. But it didn’t happen. What we don’t know and can’t see is what God is doing behind the scenes. We feel the earthquakes, we see the darkness, but we don’t understand it. We expected one thing and we experienced something quite different, and we don’t get it. 

At times like these, we can be like Peter and the other disciples—we can run away and hide in fear. Or we can be like Joseph of Arimathea, who took courage and did what he saw needed to be done. 

In the face of scorn and even the possibility of death, he requested the body of Jesus, not willing to allow him to be ravaged by wild animals, birds and vermin or to be buried in a common grave. He wrapped the body in clean white linen and placed it in the security of his own tomb with a giant rock placed in front of it to keep it safe. His hopes and dreams may be been crushed, but he knew there was something special about Jesus. He knew God still had a plan, even if it didn’t match his own. Instead of lamenting the loss of his hopes and dreams, (even though he was surely grieving) he joined God in the work that He was doing. He laid down his own plans—he let them go. Then he picked up God’s plan and did what needed to be done. 

My devotional continues, Our part is to keep Holy Saturday in faith and hope, grieving over the ruin of the world that sent Jesus to his death, trusting in the promises of God that new life will come in his way and his time… We aren't sure why we've got to this place, why things aren't going as we wanted or planned, and the life seems to have drained out of it all. That's a Holy Saturday moment. Do what has to be done, and wait for God to act in his own way and his own time.

And that is my Unswerving Hope!

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I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you think and how I can pray for you. Most of us are carrying some pretty heavy baggage and the good news is, you don't have to carry it alone! You can lay it at the feet of Jesus, and sometimes we need help just letting go of our baggage and not picking it up again. We're in this together!