Living in Between

As a child, I enjoyed Easter but adored Christmas. Having accepted Christ at a young age, I appreciated the meaning of Easter, but truthfully, nothing could really compete with Christmas — the music, the goodies, the familial warmth, and, okay, the gifts. The anticipation began with the lighting of the first Advent candle, whereas I didn’t even think about Easter until Palm Sunday.

As with so many other areas of my life, though, adulthood has changed my perspective on these holidays. While I continue to adore Christmas, I have learned to savor the beauty of Resurrection Sunday in a way, as a child, I simply couldn’t.

For me, the past few months have been challenging. Focusing on the Cross, and rejoicing in an unseen future, are not always easy when the pressures of living seem all too real. Jesus’ disciples understood this feeling, as Philip Yancey points out in The Jesus I Never Knew:

[T]wo days have earned names on the church calendar: Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Yet in a very real sense we live on Saturday, the day with no name. What the disciples experienced on a small scale — three days, in grief over one man who had died on a cross — we now live through on a cosmic scale. Human history grinds on, between the time of promise and fulfillment…It’s Saturday on planet earth; will Sunday ever come?

That dark, Golgothan Friday can only be called good because of what happened on Easter Sunday, a day which gives a tantalizing clue to the riddle of the universe. Easter opened up a crack in a universe winding down toward entropy and decay, sealing the promise that someday God will enlarge the miracle of Easter to cosmic scale.

It is a good thing to remember that in the cosmic drama, we live out our days on Saturday, the in-between day with no name.

Yes, Sunday is coming. But it’s followed by Monday…a whole year of Mondays…and many more years of that in-between time when it’s too easy to let one’s joy grow faint under the burdens of life. More and more, I rejoice on Easter Sunday, because it is much more than a commemoration: it is an anticipation — a joyous reminder that, someday, this long, dark, unnamed Saturday will end, and we will, with Christ, experience the unimaginable glory of Sunday.

At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in. ~ C. S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”

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