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Saturday (a haiku)

nothing could be done;
it was too late, or too soon.
unrestful Sabbath.

Holy Saturday ... or 'Liminal Saturday', as Mr. W and I have taken to calling it in recent years. Surely the oddest day in the church calendar ... and perhaps the one that resonates with me the most. Jesus is dead. He told his disciples this would happen. He also told them he would rise again ... but that's a lot to take in at the best of times and, right now, all they know is ... he is dead. And Jewish law obliges them to do ... precisely nothing: it is the Sabbath. (Luke 23:56b). And so they wait ... for what? To carry out the usual burial rites, and move on with their lives? (Luke 24:1) Gear themselves up for fishing for fish again like they used to? (Matthew 4:18-20) With hindsight, we glibly reassure them (and ourselves) that everything is about to change, for the better and forever ... they stand on the threshold of God's New Creation! But they, that weary, crushing Sabbath, can see nothing (clearly) but the end of something beautiful and full of promise – namely Jesus. Not just his awe-inspiring ministry, but his very self.

I find it all too easy to identify with my imagined reconstruction of the disciples' experience of Liminal Saturday, even though I know and trust that "Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Corinthians 15:20). Because not everything in my every day-to-day harmonises with that stated conviction. Refugee camps are being violently dismantled in Calais; Trump looks set to become the Republican candidate for the 2016 US presidential election; moves are constantly being made and threatened towards depriving among the most vulnerable people in the UK of basic support; place names trend on Twitter and I fear to click to find out why. People I love are sick – dying, even; or weary and demoralised. I am unkind, grumpy, foggy-heady when I would be loving and wise.

'Now and not yet', they tell me. It's Saturday, but Sunday is coming. I hope.

(Part 2 of a trio for Easter weekend. Friday's is here, and Sunday's here.)

[Thumbnail image cc from flattop341 on Flickr].