Saturday, April 19, 2014

Repost: Between Good Friday and Easter comes the Sabbath

I don't usually re-post things, but this one struck me again.

On Good Friday we have the sacrifice and the dereliction. On Easter Sunday we have the resurrection and the joy. What's the Saturday in between for?

Imagine if you were there.

It was the Sabbath, when no one was supposed to work (except God, busy maintaining the world). OK, maybe you had to rescue the farm animals stuck in the ditch, or care for the sick, but otherwise everything went on hold. You had to wait to finish the schoolwork, wait to conclude the deal, wait to finish painting, wait to finish the preparations of the body for burial. The disciples had to wait before trying to skedaddle out of town (they could only go a Sabbath-day's journey), though the Sabbath gave them a slight break before the authorities would start hunting for them.

On that Saturday/Sabbath, there was nothing they could do. They probably didn't know what to do anyway, except lie low and wait.

One of the lessons of the Sabbath was "you don't hold up the world." For six days you work and for one day you rest and realize that the results depend on God.

Lots of life is bound up with waiting. A boy wants to be a fireman, but he'll have to wait. A couple want a baby--they'll have to wait. Why can't you learn to walk right away? Travel takes time. Growing takes time. Ripening takes time. Wisdom takes time. Even drying clothes takes time.

And God makes us wait in other ways. We read of many prophets, but there seem to have been spans of time with no prophet--especially the four hundred years before Jesus. "You have enough for now, follow what you know and wait." How long have we been waiting for Jesus' return? And, I suppose, how long has God been waiting for us to finish reaching the world?

Plant the crops and wait for rain. Mend the fishing nets and wait for the rain to stop.

Newlyweds find a monthly interruption to nuptial delights--and it lasts a week, too. Why? I don't know: Waiting again.

Someone said that 90% of life was showing up. That's kind of a primitive way of looking at it, but a lot of life is spent being there and being ready and waiting. And I guess God wants it that way. How to faithfully occupy our time while waiting is a matter for another meditation.

But for this Saturday/Sabbath, we wait, as they waited; for Easter isn't about what we can do.

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