Yesterday was Saturday. We felt it yesterday. We feel it so many days. The body of Jesus in a tomb. Sin-turned-death has killed the God-turned-Man and buried Him in the ground. All that is good and beautiful and bright was smothered by dark. Jesus cannot descend any lower than this depth. His following, His friends, His mother- they all felt it and their hearts broke. Creation felt it and its sky broke into thunder. And still today we get a taste of it: evil with the upper hand, hope shattered, life exhaled out and gone. Friday He dies and we remember. Sunday He raises and we rejoice. Saturday He lies still and we wait. The Heart is not beating. The Breath is not breathing. Our hearts are breaking and we hold our breath. So many days feel like Saturdays.
But today is a Sunday and we will joyfully gather with our dear ones and say “He is Risen”. Because we believe life was born out of the grave. That the very nature of God and His kingdom is one of life growing up out of dry ground, out of a tomb, like green sprouting through dirt in the very last days of winter. Some 2,000 years ago, the human heart of Jesus stopped beating. Then started beating again. Pulsing muscle tissue, vibration of vessels, blood surging, humming the body to life again. It started beating again. Beating against every evil thought and word and deed. This means everything to us, because when His heart reverberated victory, individual new hearts made homes in humans made new. We have known dying, the decay of loneliness and despair. We have known captivity, being held by ugliness and pain. But we have been given a new life. A new heart. We have been reborn and we are being recreated, from the inside out.
There are still Saturdays. Yesterday was one, but there will be more. The Sunday of Sundays is yet to come. When Jesus brings His human life here again. The lifeless in the ground will be given new life to join Him. The lifelessness of the ground, all of creation, will be given new life to host all this joy and beauty. A new Kingdom, a world restored. But the hardest is now. So many signs of death. It does no good to pretend it is not down the street or at our door. Jesus is alive and His beautiful way is springing up all around, but the brokenness. The brokenness is so deep. We see it and smell it and taste it and feel it and it breaks our hearts. Every day death and everything is touched by it. Much of life is a Saturday. Evil at work, hope shattered, life exhaled out and gone.
But today is a Sunday. He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er His foes. He came out of the dark domain. And He is the first and founder of many resurrections. He said He would rise and He rose. He said He would return and He will. Today we will say “He is Risen”. But we really need to say it on the Saturdays that follow. Jesus is risen. By that we mean, death is a brief interlude for you and for me. Jesus is risen. By that we mean, we see signs of death and we imagine new life bursting from the ground, like those leaves of green appearing out of nowhere early spring. Jesus is risen. By that we mean, in the middle of winter we live spring, with words and actions that cause life to flourish. Jesus is risen. By that we mean, we make Sundays of Saturdays, while we wait for the impending birth of earth and humanity. Jesus is risen. By that we mean, we work toward and anticipate life in me and life in you and life in those places we have given up on. We wait with hope. Even on Saturday. All because of Sunday.