A Saturday People
At the end of this month the high point of the Christian Year arrives. Friday the 22nd to Sunday the 24th is the Holiest weekend of the year. And yet while Friday and Sunday are the days that get the most press, I think that it is Saturday where we spend most of our time.
On Friday we gather to remember the power of the world to say NO. We remember the story of trial, conviction and execution. We reflect on the whys and the meanings of the death. WE pause to remember the ways the world continues to say NO to God's hopes for the global community. Then, especially in many churches where there is no Easter Vigil, we sort of go our own way on Saturday, maybe doing some preparation for Sunday with the Easter Bunny and the grand worship. Then comes Sunday, the theological high point of the year.
On Sunday we sing and rejoice that God counters the world's NO with a resounding and reverberating YES. On Sunday we tell of life that still wins, of hope beyond despair, of breaking the bonds of death. It is the heart of Christian faith. We are called to live as Easter people, as people of resurrection faith. Surely the life of faith is lived out in a Sunday manner? Not in my mind. I believe that we live our faith on that forgotten day, the pause in the story, the day of uncertainty. Saturday.
Saturday is a day of wondering. It is a day of not knowing what is going to come next. To live in a Saturday mode is to be caught between despair and hope, between life and death, between no and yes. And so, when I look at the world it seems a much better description of life as we live it.
Living on Saturday is both comfortable and uncomfortable. It is comfortable because it is the known, the familiar. To move into living fully on Sunday would mean leaving that familiarity behind. But what we are familiar with is the discomfort of uncertainty, of worry, of the “what if”s. It is uncomfortable to hover between hope and despair, between life and death. It is uncomfortable to live always wondering if hope is going to be fulfilled. But, on the other hand, we were never promised that life was going to be comfortable.
Some traditions have an Easter Vigil that can cover the whole of Saturday. It is a time when people use prayer and Scripture and song to help them wait. They wait for the coming of Sunday's dawn. They wait for the coming of God's YES. So it is with us for most of the year. We wait for our hopes to be fulfilled. We wait for the many ways the world says NO will be changed into God's YES. We wait in the grey area between life and death. But we wait in hope and in trust. We wait because we know there is something worth waiting for.
And so I invite all of you to join in Saturday living. Some times we will feel closer to Friday's death and darkness. Some days we will get a glimpse of Sunday's brightness and life. But most of the time we are in the twilight. And as we wait we share together the words of the hymn that covers Saturday time:
Stay with us through the night, stay with us through the pain.
Stay with us, blessed stranger till the morning breaks again
Stay with us through the night, stay with us through the grief.
Stay with us, blessed stranger till the morning brings relief.
Stay with us through the night, stay with us through the dread.
Stay with us, blessed stranger till the morning breaks new bread
(#182 in Voices United ©1988 Walter Farquharson)