"And it's like that long Saturday between your death and the rising day
When no one wrote a word, wondered is this the end
But you were down there in the well, saving those that fell
Bringing them to the mountain again."
- Caedmon's Call, "Valleys Fill First"
None of the four gospels, the books which tell the story of the life of Jesus in the Christian Bible, describe what happened the day between His crucifixion and His resurrection. I can only imagine how Jesus' followers, His close family and friends, His mother, felt and behaved on that long Saturday.
These men and women had dedicated years (or more) and had left all they knew to learn from Jesus and stand with Him as He ushered in a radical new way of living. They sat together with the poor and infected, the prostitutes and tax collectors, the lowest in Israel and defended and tended to them. They seemingly ignored the long standing laws to act out of love of God, not obedience to man.
And then, Jesus was gone.
He had repeatedly promised them His death would not be the end, but they had missed the message (I'm sure I would have missed it, too). On that long Saturday, I imagine they felt completely stripped of hope. I imagine they felt completely surrounded by darkness again. They thought the light they had been following had been extinguished.
But what if they had known all along that Jesus' death was not an end, but another beginning? What if they had known that death was just a part of life and while difficult, would be redeemed? How would that have changed that long Saturday?
We spend most of our lives on a long Saturday, in the belly of the fish, if you will. There are days, or seasons, when we experience death, whether literal or metaphoric. Life is made up of little deaths, of suffering, of mistakes.
But most of our days are spent living a long Saturday, in the middle ground. We are able to breathe (some days more than others) and daily detect something "more" moving in the world (some days more than others). But we are not whole.
However, if we remember the message Jesus' first friends missed, it won't be a lost Saturday. The suffering we just endured, the mistakes we just made are not the end. So stand strong. Stand tall. We are surrounded by "more." We live in a valley and "valleys fill first."
The egg cracks and cracks and cracks before the baby is born. Jonah was spit back up upon the shore. And Jesus lives, completely changing everything we thought we knew. And we can live like He did. We can "die" and rise again and again and again. This is a long Saturday, but it is not the end. Tomorrow is coming.
We are not whole, but we are part of more. We are holy.