What was it like, this day those years ago, that empty, sad, confusing day? Did the clouds hover over clumps of confused believers stunned by the day just past? Or did the sun rise bright over Jerusalem like nothing had ever happened? Like God didn’t just let Himself be hanged from wooden beams on a blood-soaked hill.
Was Peter hating himself, Thomas wrapped in denial that any of it was real, James and John feeling the beams like battering rams in their gut? Did they word the pain of the chasm wide, or were they numbed into silence? Could they have possibly comprehended such complete surrender to the will of the Father?
I wonder if Lazarus was there, or if Jesus had sent him home to safety. And I wonder if somewhere in his spirit he knew of the Divine Tragedy, pondered his own life returned and its Giver sealed away in a borrowed tomb.
I ponder how Jesus must have spent the day outside of bloodied body and time and space, wrestling with demons in a battle that would ultimately defeat death for all of us. I wonder what it was like for Him there where He was never meant to be, fighting the ultimate war for all of us for all of time so we can live forever.
So we can live forever. Not just exist. Not just get by. Not just manage. Live.
We rarely talk about this day. It was a holiday, and not just any holiday. It was the Passover, so there would have been much merriment and feasting. But for those who were sure their world had lately ended, it must have been a hollow day, emptied of its joy like we face holidays just after burying someone we love.
Was God still looking away, or was He smiling in the Knowing, cheering His only Son in the ultimate title match, willing all of Creation to just hold on a little longer? Or perhaps the battle in reality and outside our limited understanding was already won, His visit there simply to speak with the authority of the Almighty, “Death, in my nail-pierced hand I hold your sting, and with sacred victory declare of your hold over my children–it is finished!”
Was Heaven holding its breath in a holy “Wait for it…”?
How do we look back to then and how do we honor this darkest day in history here on knowing side where all things are made new? Does it change us to know?
Can we pause to feel along with those crushed believers the heaviness of a world gone dark with eternity hanging in the balance, and then recall the dawn they hadn’t yet seen when all darkness would be forever turned to glorious light? Can we hold them all in our hearts and weep with them blessed with the assurance that no, the world was not yet ending, and was really only just beginning?
We live here on the knowing side, our children rushing through grass with little green baskets, sharing candy and stories and preparing for the day to come, the day we know came. The day they didn’t know about.
We live here truly living and not just trudging from one day to the next because that day did come, and it made all the difference. We live this darkest day in history not even really noticing the darkness because the light is soon to come and in these days we live grateful for His gift of purest grace because it makes all the difference.
And we pour out that grace and that joy that bubbles up because we can’t not share it. We share it because it makes a difference for all of us and we’re in this together and that eternal life He died for, well, we want everyone to live it because He wants everyone to live it. He sealed the purchase with His own blood, gave His very life for us, and I wonder if we are willing to give ours back.
I greet this hollow day made holy, grateful that He has made me whole and praying that my heart is never content with anything less than complete surrender to the One Who makes all things new.