The Day Between

On the Saturday between, I imagine what it must have been like. The day after a tragedy. The day after the very worst day is the day of shock, grief, horror, and a quietness. A wonder. Did that really just happen? Our whole life is changed in a day, and the day after is the first day of our new reality. We wonder, what now? How do we deal with this new reality? Our lives were going along just as we'd planned, or maybe we hadn't planned it and it was still lovely. And then the worst day. The terrible day. The day that changes everything. Raw pain, horror, terror. It hurts to the very bones of our bodies.

And then the next day. On the eve of Easter now, we spend the day preparing to be new again. We iron our outfits, clean the house, do our nails, put curlers in our hair. All so that tomorrow we will look like new people.

The day after for the disciples and followers of Jesus was much different I think. It was the Sabbath, and the strict laws kept them from doing anything or traveling very far. They may not have had much to eat, since the day before they had not spent in preparation for the Sabbath. They quietly gathered, those who had hidden were most likely a little ashamed, but they all came together. I wonder if they spoke of what had happened. If they spoke in anger against the crowd, or Pilate. Or if they sat quietly in shock together at the horror of having their Friend, and Hope so dramatically taken from them.

I wonder if they thought of His words "three days." Were they too sad for any hope? Or did they wonder?

With Sunday's dawning, we will all have prepared ourselves. We will have on our beautiful Easter dresses and new shoes, showing the world that we are new in Christ. On that first Easter, though, I imagine the faces were smudged and swollen with the outpouring of grief alive. Panic set in when Mary approached the grave. "What have they done with my Lord?" "Where is HE?" She must have been waiting anxiously for the moment when she would be able to serve Him one more time. To make sure He was right. They prepared the spices the day He died, but had to wait through the Sabbath. They didn't want His body undignified any longer. He deserved better.

But when she got there, He wasn't there for her to serve. He was missing, and with all the horrible that had already happened, she believed someone was messing with Him again. Denying Him even the proper rite and respect of burial. She must have felt so stuck. Watching such horror happen and not even having any way of stopping it or easing it. Evil likes to make us think we are incapable of fighting it, that we are weak, and cannot stand in the face of it. Imagine if someone took something from you by force. We'd like to think we could fight back and even defeat them. But if they are stronger, more desperate, and willing to commit more evil, then we may not be able to fight back. And maybe we shouldn't. Christ didn't.

So Mary was once again overwhelmed with her incapabilities. Her cannots. I cannot fight, I cannot stop, I cannot DO ANYTHING. I am literally helpless. Why would they kick me when I am down? I have nothing, am nothing, am empty.

But then a quiet voice, an inconspicuous gardener, asks her what the trouble is. How funny that He is a gardener again. The Gardener again. The One Who looked for us in the garden. Who found us in Mary. She begged for any information He had, maybe a spark of courage and rage and just exhaustion lit inside her, and she was going to do something.

"Mary." Her name. How does this Gardener know her name? Looking a little closer, looking into His face. She'd avoided His gaze, and His face because of fear, impropriety. But now, she wonders, Who...?

And then the moment of recognition. Her dirty, smudged, swollen face must have changed in an instant. To wonder. To awe. To hope. Her eyes must have sparkled with a wish and bright new tears. Can this be true? Can He have done this thing? This reversal? This life? Can He be Living again? Is all hope not lost?

He's alive.

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