One minute you throw out the idea that your brother and sister-in-law should bring their son to visit for Easter, the next minute, eight years go by, and it’s tradition.
We both have a bunch of kids now, so we sight see and explore the city. The cousins play hard and we throw them in bed dirty. We eat too much ham and drink mimosas after church. The menu varies only slightly year to year. (Honeybaked ham, roasted asparagus, balsamic glazed carrots this year or green beans? rolls – sorry gluten-free people, and deviled eggs – although the kids still don’t understand why we serve deviled eggs on Easter Sunday.) (Listen kids, despite the name, they are just too delicious and we have too many colored eggs around here not to.)
We no longer take nine million pictures of the kids or make the Easter baskets look pretty. They get stuff like undershirts and markers. (Done!) And we’re happy to get one picture where no one is crying. We don’t care if they pout.
Last year I pulled out our Resurrection Eggs each night (which I made myself, thanks to Pinterest and my innate frugality) for the kids to open and read the Bible verses recounting the story leading Jesus to the cross and from the grave.
This year, we had Pizza Movie night on Good Friday. We saw cherry blossoms on Saturday. We went to the 9:30am service at church on Sunday. We came home and were ready for an Easter egg hunt at 11 and eating our body weight in ham by noon.
We could have done more with the kids to impress the real meaning of Easter on them this year. (Even though they know it.) There’s part of me that feels like we should all be depressed on Friday. Mourning, confused, and fearful on Saturday. Then rejoicing and jubilant on Sunday.
Because Easter comes but once a year! We need to embrace the chance to teach our children, let alone take the time ourselves, to really feel the Easter story. Really let it sink in.
But kids don’t care if we dress in sackcloth and ashes. They’d still find ways to giggle through prayers and find reasons to jump on the trampoline.
Sunday morning at church, all ten of us in a pew, grateful, thankful, and ready to worship – tears streamed down my face as we sang:
You are stronger
You are stronger
Sin is broken
You have saved me
It is written
Christ is risen
Jesus You are Lord of all
Most of us know the story: The Bible tells us Jesus was the Son of God and a human son. He was fully God and fully man. He lived a perfect life and was chosen to be a perfect sacrifice for our sins. He was crucified on a Friday and buried in a tomb. Early Sunday morning, the tomb was empty. He appeared, alive – risen from the dead – to the women who came to embalm his body and later to his disciples.
It’s the week after Holy Week. And it’s this time after Easter that I’ve had the time to sit with my thoughts about what it would have been like for me, if I lived then … What would I have done? How would I have felt?
What would it have been like if I was a disciple? On Friday? On Saturday? Sunday?
We have the full story. We know what happens. Maybe we believe it.
But do we live like it?
How would my life, how should my life, be different—having the full story? How often do I limit my idea of Jesus based on Where I see him, On What Day I keep him, and live my life out in relation to that view?
Everything Up Through Friday People
Think of all those people – the multitudes – who followed Jesus from town to town when he was alive. They loved him for what he could offer. But he was crucified and died and so many of them thought he would be… could have been, the Messiah…
Up Through Friday people think Jesus was a good and righteous man. An excellent teacher inspiring thousands to follow him and listen to him. A miracle worker who healed the sick, cast out demons, and went so far as to forgive sins. Maybe He was divine? They may believe he died on a cross, unjustly. But without any understanding or acceptance of why.
It’s noble, praiseworthy even, to follow Jesus. But there’s nothing more to it than that.
Because it doesn’t matter. He’s dead now.
How may people hear about Jesus and leave Him there, on Friday? How many of us accept he was a real person, morally perfect, even someone worth modeling one’s life after (He is love, after all), but don’t go any further? Up Through Friday people see His death as final. He was better than most, but still subject to the same fate which awaits the rest of us.
How many Christians, even, live out their life with this view? Jesus is a model. But nothing more. Nothing too personal. Nothing life changing.
Saturday Doubters and Saturday Waiters
On Saturday, the Bible doesn’t say what the masses did, but it seems likely the crowds scattered. Scripture doesn’t have a lot to say about Saturday. It was the Sabbath—the day of rest.
What an overwhelming day. The grief. The disappointment. The fear. The confusion.
If you’ve ever had someone close to you die, you know these terrible, honest feelings.
Jesus was dead. The Messiah, the Son of God, was dead.
Did the disciples remember the times he clearly said, “I will be raised on the third day?” Or talk about the sign of the prophet Jonah? Or how the temple will be destroyed and rebuilt in three days?
(Hey, no hard feelings, Disciples. I’m not saying I’d understand anything better than people who actually walked with Jesus.)
On Saturday, their world was rocked. (That’s not official Biblical language, by the way.)
Saturday Doubters are people who think Jesus is the Son of God, have accepted it and know it to be true somewhere inside – but find it hard to believe without concrete evidence and especially when circumstances are tough. They struggle during difficult times. They doubt the foundation of what they believe, because there is too much that doesn’t make sense.
The world is a mess. People are so full of hate. Innocents die. Corruption prospers.
What if Christianity is all a lie? What if this is all made up? What if everything I know to be true is a sham? What then?
It’s easy to doubt.
On the other hand…
Saturday Waiters are people who also believe Jesus is the Son of God, believe it with their whole hearts, but stay put. They live in their little circle. (A bubble, if you will.) They get the world is a mess and evil prospers and even the good struggle. They don’t know how things will work out, but they are confident it will. In the meantime, they’re gonna stay right where they are, safe and sound, within the walls with the people they know.
They believe, but they do nothing. Because stepping out in faith is dangerous. They, like the disciples on Saturday, hideout.
Confession: I’m a Saturday Girl. This is where I’ve lived out much of my christianity.
I’m the girl who honestly believes Jesus Christ was the son of God and that “IT” (all the evil, all the terror, all the unexplainable tragedies, the little ones with Leukemia, young mothers with cancer, the fathers in car accidents, the plane crashes, the stillbirths and miscarriages, the earthquakes, the famines, the genocide…) I believe all of it will be made right one day. Jesus will come again and make it right.
In the meantime… I like to sit back on my comfy navy blue couch, have a glass of wine, and wait. God, you’ve got this. I’m scared and I don’t like what’s going on in the world, and I don’t know what’s coming next, so I’ll just hang out here in safety, until you come back and fix it.
How much of my life have I spend in Saturday? Doubting. Unsure. Afraid to act. Waiting.
(Okay. I know this is silly. But I couldn’t think of a better name.)
Sunday. An empty tomb. A risen savior. VICTORY OVER DEATH. The promise of eternal life.
The promise and the arrival of the Holy spirit (Jesus able to live IN us). (yesyesyes – The Spirit didn’t come on Sunday… but because of Sunday, the Spirit came…I realize it’s not a perfect analogy. Just go with it.)
THIS is where I want to live out my life. Seeing, Knowing, really getting that there is actual power in my life because of Jesus. Not of me at all. Super natural, life changing, heart changing power. In his name. In his blood. Because of His life, death, and resurrection.
I don’t need to try to model my life after Christ. I can come just as I am and let Him change me.
I don’t need to live doubting and playing-it-safe. I can let Him teach me to trust and hope.
I don’t need to live in fear, but can take steps in faith, knowing He supplies all I need.
I don’t know where you are, but my hope is that you see Jesus beyond a Friday perspective. For those of us who accept the death and resurrection of Jesus, let’s not live life doubtful and hesitant to act, as if it’s Saturday. My prayer is that we can fully embrace the power we have, what Sunday gave us, to live our lives bold and full and brave.