As I write this, I anticipate you reading it on Saturday, April 23. Today is Holy Saturday. It is that day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is that in-between day when I just dont know how to feel.
On what has become known as Maundy Thursday on our church calendar, our Lord Jesus Christ was snatched away from us. The Son of Man was betrayed into the hands of sinners. Mark 14:41.
On Good Friday, he was crucified. The last we saw of him was when his body was being cared for and buried by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus on Friday.
Unlike the first disciple, we know how the story will turn out: Resurrection! Tomorrows glorious proclamation: Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed!
But today is Holy Saturday.
Those who study such things have long speculated where Jesus is today? Is his lifeless body still in the tomb? Has he descended into hell as is declared in the Apostles Creed? Is he at the right hand of the Father in Heaven?
All I know is that today is Holy Saturday, and he is not here.
This is the in-between time between death and resurrection. This is the day I hate even worse than Good Friday. I need my lord, and he is not here.
Of course, all of us who believe know that Jesus is always with us. Make no mistake, He is always with us. But today is that weird day in the salvation story where historically we can only guess at his physical presence.
Also, of course, historically we believe we live in the in-between time. Our more liturgical churches even sing this out in our communion rituals: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
We live in the time between resurrection and second-coming, and it can feel like Holy Saturday. We know we are ultimately saved. We anticipate singing with the angels in Heaven at the right hand of the Father: Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed!
Yet sometimes it feels like the world has gone crazy, and those around us forget we live in this blessed time between resurrection and second-coming. We fail to act like all of this makes a difference. We fail to live resurrected lives. We sometimes even cry out, I need the Lord, and he just doesnt seem to be here.
You are probably thinking here Nofels Presbyterian dour Calvinism is showing. But I think it is more pragmatism.
Our job as believers is to witness to the world that the Christ Event: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again has changed the world forever!
We are called to celebrate Jesus in our lives. He has commissioned us to witness to Jesus with our lives. He has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. We must act like it.
I was going to lament that I have been in half a dozen different church meetings representing half a dozen different Christian bodies in the past few months, and we have fussed and feuded and failed in our commissioning. Had I focused on those for this writing, you would definitely see my dour Calvinistic side showing.
Instead we need to shrug off the dust and debris and focus on resurrection and the hope and security he brings us forever.
In those same few months I have been part of dozens of worship services. I have seen believers from every station of life witness and minister and live in the light of Christ. That must be our focus. Our job is to work at making that the constant focus where we live.
Yes, today is Holy Saturday. It is the in-between time between death and resurrection. It can be a strange, hard day.
Yes, we do live in the in-between time between resurrection and second-coming. It is a strange and often hard place to be. Yet it is the time of faith, hope and love. It is the time to recognize Jesus is always with us, and we are moving toward the Heavenly Kingdom. It is time to be joyful.
Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. The Lord is near.
The Rev. Steve Nofel is co-pastor of Montezuma Valley Presbyterian Church.