Yesterday, our family observed Good Friday. I say, “observed” because it seems a bit inappropriate to say “celebrated.” Though I certainly rejoice in the forgiveness and new life purchased for me at Calvary, one doesn’t want to be cheery about it. “Gee, Jesus, sure glad You died on the cross and all.” Somehow, throwing a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas, though having often struck me as a bit patronizing to the Son of God, seems far more appropriate than celebrating the day of His death.
Anyway, I am afraid that we didn’t do much observing either. Mostly I cleaned the house after a delicious sleep-in (as no one had school) and yelled at the kids to clean up the mess in the basement (“I’m sure Jesus cleaned up His toys when He was done playing with them!”). But after dinner, we did read the story of the crucifixion and talk about how amazing it was that Jesus not only died for us rebel ingrates, but that He also lived a perfect life without sinning once. This part pricked my conscience a bit when looking back on the yelling and all. Hopefully, the kids were thinking about the eye-rolling they had been doing throughout the day.
I also “observed” that it was two days ’til Easter and went hog wild at the grocery, buying everyone those things that they gave up for Lent. I love Easter morning even more than Christmas because, yes, it’s great to partake of whatever we have voluntarily abstained from over the past forty days, but I also feel so happy to remember that, for Jesus, the trial of His earthly existence is over. He carried such a heavy burden for us and now “It is finished.”
But for us that isn’t the case. Though we have hope, we haven’t reached the finish line yet. If we are believers, then we’ve gotten past Friday, with all its earthquakes and dark skies. We have come to the cross, received forgiveness, been freed from the bonds of sin, and been given the promise of things to come. But that promise isn’t reality yet. We are still at Saturday, longing for Sunday morning. And Saturday can be hell.
In our Saturday existence, we do things that leave us full of regret, like, I don’t know, let’s say, yelling at our kids. Or forgetting to pray for that person who so desperately needs our prayers. On Saturday, Friday seems like a lifetime ago and Sunday seems as though it will never dawn. I’m not quite sure what to do with Saturday. I was full of sadness and gratitude on Friday; I know I will be full of joy and praise on Sunday. But Saturday? It feels like an oversight, something to be skipped and gotten over with.
It makes you wonder, what was Jesus doing on Saturday? No longer on earth but not yet in heaven. No longer bound by death but not yet seated in glory. I suppose that latter part describes me pretty well too, though I am quite sure my estate will be far less glorious than His. For now I am called to live a life not bound by sin and death, not afraid of what is to come. With tears still wet on my cheeks but with the knowledge that chocolate bunnies and Diet Coke are just around the bend. I suppose, if nothing else, this Saturday life makes our mouths water for Sunday morning, when we, like Mary, will see our Savior in the garden, only this time it will be forever.