I’ve always contended (well, since I was about 20) that Easter just blows away Christmas. It’s a no-brainer: the Triumph clearly trumps the Entry. But within Easter weekend (thus excepting Palm Sunday the week prior), we have a range of options to contemplate, and within these, Holy Saturday comes out first for me.
Not that the other days – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday – are chopped livah:
- Maundy Thursday provides the chance to wonder at how Christ revolutionized the Passover, or deliverance from servitude which, until that point, had most poignantly been instantiated in the Exodus story. By offering Himself as the ultimate sacrifice, He democratized and internalized this redemption for everyone beyond my peeps.
- Good Friday is an important moment to ponder the gritty, real sacrifice made by Christ. The pain, agony, separation and acute trial He endured purely out of love, wholly undeserved.
- Easter Sunday is a party: a grand celebration where we can take heart that death has been overcome, the victory sealed, and we simply wait until the full implications of this attained victory fill in.
….but Holy Saturday is beautiful and heartening in its very silence. The unfolding of Thursday and drama of Friday are over, and the closure of Sunday not at all a certainty. Instead, it’s a time in the gap…a time of waiting…a time where we must choose to trust and believe, in the midst of no circumstances or actions around us validating that choice.
Thus, Holy Saturday is the most like life as we live it today: we trust and believe that something dramatic and important has happened…and completion WILL happen…but right now, we live in the in-between. The silence. The ambiguity, where we simply must choose to believe despite signals around us which conflict – or simply don’t send us anything at all.
For me, the choice to believe is a no-brainer because the alternative – a life without hope, purpose, direction or redemption – is not really a life at all, but an animalistic, nihilistic bumbling about, hoping to attain enough pleasure or numbness to cover up this sad, broken, desolate alternative reality that is so unacceptable …because it simply is not The Reality. We struggle with it because we weren’t made for it.
So I will choose to believe on this Holy Saturday, and in this life, of the in-between. Because I really have no choice.
On the contrary, one can choose the alternative, because ours is not necessarily "a life without hope, purpose, direction or redemption". It is not correct to say that it "is not really a life at all, but an animalistic, nihilistic bumbling about, hoping to attain enough pleasure or numbness to cover up this sad, broken, desolate alternative reality that is so unacceptable". It's the only life we get, so we may as well just try to be happy before it's all over, because there is no other reality, even if this one seems a bit crap sometimes. I'm much happier as an atheist.
Happy Easter, though.
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