On this day, the in-between space between the cross and tomb of Good Friday and the discovery of an empty tomb, as death became life on Easter, we sit like the first witnesses to the resurrection. We wait. We remember. We pray. We lament. We hope. We watch. And we wait some more.
It hit me this morning. I had known this a few weeks ago, but somewhere along the lines I had forgotten. Today, Holy Saturday, as it falls on April 16, also marks one year since my Grandma Melba’s life on earth as a disciple came to a conclusion, and she claimed her baptismal promises. Part of me wonders if Grandma in a conversation with God said, “hmm… what would be an extra meaningful day to remember me, for my family and loved ones next year?” And God said, “well, how about Holy Saturday?” I am sure this didn’t happen. But part of me wonders. Stranger things have happened.
Think about it, Grandma, who if she had been born a decade or two later likely would have been a pastor herself like Grandpa, whose calendar was always structured around the church liturgical calendar. She would have known well the weight and hope of this day of the year. And ironically, one of her many ministries she helped start as a pastor’s spouse was the practice of an Easter prayer vigil that ran between the end of Good Friday service and the beginning of the Easter Sunrise service. Even later in life, she would sign up while the prayer vigil was happening and pray at some of the darkest hours of night. I think Grandma knew well what it means to watch, wait, and pray.
So today, as we all wait, and remember what God has done for us, I also remember in good hope and joy my Grandma. Who like the women at the tomb on Easter morning, proclaimed the good news of God in Christ for you and for me.
Good Friday is not the end of the story. The cross is not the end. Death is not the end. Injustice is not the end. An unjust war in Ukraine is not the end. And a life well lived by my grandma is not the end either. We know this. We confess this. We profess this. We believe it, and embody this truth.
We bear it too, knowing that amid all of the emotions and experiences, memories and feelings that today might bring, we know that we are not alone. For our God walks with us and is in it all, with us, no matter what. For God has been where we are. God has gone to and through the point of birth, life, and death, as one of us. So God meets us where we are at, no matter the time or location. We are not alone. And this story is far from over.
Let us sit, wait, pray, and remember. Knowing what is to come. And clinging in the hope and joy of the promise.