Holy Saturday is the bleakest day in the Christian calendar, and it is important… even if you’re not Christian.
Because it’s a powerful story about everyday life.
Friday might be the dramatic day, the day everyone remembers how one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change. It’s the day that everyone focuses on now, but it’s not the worst day.
That’s when you get the shock and trauma. That’s when you hear that someone’s died, when your love tells you they don’t feel the same way anymore, when you find out something that meant a lot to you was just another day to the other person.
Choose your trauma. There’s no ranking system for pain.
That’s the day of the shock.
That’s Good Friday.
But it isn’t the worst day.
The worst day, the bleakest day, is Saturday.
Imagine them for a moment – imagine them as part of a story or historical people, it doesn’t matter. Really imagine them, put yourself in their situation.
You’re part of a peaceful resistance movement. Your leader is charismatic and great, and then one day he gets rounded up by the police and publicly executed. Not only that, but you’ve suddenly found out that all the people around you, the people that you thought would be on your side, preferred to kill your leader instead of a murderer.
You’re in disarray. Your leadership is denying they were ever part of the movement. And your leader – the person you thought would at least make some change in the situation, or maybe even more – is dead and buried.
And the shock starts to wear off.
What you thought you had – your leader, your movement, your lover, your security, your family, whatever it was that your trauma cleaved from you – is gone and it’s going to stay gone forever.
It goes from shock to becoming real.
And you have no idea how the world can keep spinning, how other people can laugh and smile and go about their daily lives, because don’t they know? Don’t they REALIZE?
But the thing the Gospels teach us, the reason that this story has persisted so long despite its dubious documentation, is not because of some Imaginary Sky Friend.
It is the same message that draws people to the Doctor, that draws people to Luke, that draws people over and over again.
It is that yes, there is a dark night. There is a time when everything is bleak and horrible and awful.
And then… whether in an opened tomb, a glowing regenerating corpse, a shimmering blue apparition, or just in the everyday perseverance of everyday people, there is the hope of something new, something different.
Because without Destruction, there is never anything new. Never anything better. Without destruction and despair, there is no hope.
Friends, regardless of your faith or fandom or loves, know that Destruction is terrible and awful and horrendous. That the day after is the day of Despair.
But the day after… the day after is the day of hope and Delight.