Today, Christians around the world reflect on the substitutionary death of Jesus. It is a dark day in Christian memory, as death has swallowed up Jesus and he has been buried, descending into the earth. He is dust returning to dust.
The Saturday following Good Friday is a terrible reminder of death’s hold on humanity. Every person will die. No one escapes death, not even the one Person who was sinless, Jesus.
But Christians remember this weekend that death’s hold is temporary. Tomorrow we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, whose personal and bodily resurrection assured the resurrection of all humanity from the dead. While everyone dies, everyone will also be raised. And for those who are raised in Christ, having faith in him, they will be raised to eternal life. It is an amazing thought.
Today is a dark day in our collective memory as Christians: death has won and Jesus is gone. We are without hope. Humanity is doomed. God has lost. We have no deliverer. Lost. Hopeless. Damned.
But there is Easter Sunday.
Because we know “the rest of the Story” we only feign sadness and mourning today. We know that tomorrow we will remember, as we do every Sunday, the resurrection. We are not lost without hope. We have a redeemer, a deliver.
In the childhood cancer community thousands of families live daily in the darkness of death’s Saturday. Their precious son, daughter, brother, sister, grandchild, or friend has lost the battle with cancer. The Emperor of All Maladies basks in the glory of victory.
And daily those families grieve.
With moms and dads, brothers and sisters, and friends of children who died from countless diseases, accidents, and other occurrences, they wake up every morning to darkness as a constant companion.
Lose a spouse and you become a widow or widower. Lose a parent and you become an orphan. Lose a child and you become….
There is no word for losing a child.
I heard one father say, nearly a year after the death of his son, “I’ve not gotten over it. And I’m not sure I want to.”
Such sadness. Such pain. Such darkness.
And so today, as I await the celebration of Christ’s resurrection tomorrow, I long for the resurrection of the dead which he assured. I join these families in praying to God, “Your kingdom come.”
I pray for Saturday’s darkness to give way to Sunday’s Light.