3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
The Gospels don’t tell us much about the day after the crucifixion. We know that Jesus has been taken down from the cross and has been placed in the tomb. It was the Passover Sabbath, so the body could not be prepared for burial until dawn on Sunday, so we can assume that Jesus’ disciples and followers are left to grieve in hiding (not sure if they too were soon to be arrested). It must have been a difficult day for them, as they were facing life without Jesus, and uncertain of what was going to happen in the days to come.
I have often thought of this Saturday as an “in-between” day, representing a time when God was absent from our world, as Jesus lay dead in the tomb, waiting for the resurrection.
These thoughts came back to me today when I first woke up and heard the wind blowing around the eaves of the house, giving a feeling of emptiness, of loneliness. While I know that God is always present in our world, the sound of the wind made me think of how sad it must have been for the followers of Jesus to believe that he was gone from their lives, that their time with him was over, and how alone they must have felt.
There are times in my life, such as when I was going through my divorce, and realized that the career I had studied and worked so hard for would never come to fruition, when I felt like god was absent. It was not a good feeling, to think that God had left me. Fortunately these feelings did not last, as I soon realized that God had NOT deserted me, in truth I had simply stopped talking to God out of resentment and feeling sorry for myself.
There are many people in our world today who also feel that God is absent from their lives. Some, like myself, may have stopped praying out of resentment or hurt feelings; however, there are others who feel that belief in God (or any Higher Power) is a sign of weakness or is just plain foolish in the light of all we know about Science. There is a strong backlash against any religious belief in our culture, mainly due to the actions of those who use their faith as an excuse for discrimination or acts of hatred.
For those who do not believe in a power greater than themselves, every day must be like the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter, something I would find very hard to manage. I have found my faith in God to be a great help during times of trouble, and a source of great joy when things were good. Faith has enriched my life, making me a better person and a better parent…two thing I always need to improve upon. My faith in God has helped me to deal with the loss of loved ones, failed relationships, losing jobs and financial stability, as well as illnesses and injuries (effected myself and others). Faith has also given me great feelings of gratitude for my sobriety, my daughter and for the relationships that have worked for me.
Even when I did stop talking to God, God continued to speak to me, through the people around me, who offered me compassion and support through some of the most difficult times of my life. Without my faith I feel that I would have been lost long ago!
Today, as we are between Good Friday and Easter a time when God was absent from the world, we are reminded of the importance of faith in our lives, and of the great gift of love given to us by Christ, the promise of new life, and the promise that the love of God will never leave us alone again. Filled with the light of Easter, we are called to share that light with others (not force it upon them) in hopes that they too will find a faith that works for them, and gives them the hope and comfort that we have found in Christ, as a life without any sort of faith can be lonely and (for me anyway) a little frightening!
Let us Pray:
God, thank you for always being with us, even when we are not always speaking to you. Thank you that we will never know a time in our lives when your love is truly absent from us. Help us to share this love with others as we live our lives in the hope of the risen Christ…even today as we are waiting for the light of Easter to dawn upon the world once again.