Blessed are those who mourn, for they will immediately be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will easily inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will effortlessly be filled.
Yeah, add those to the list of things Jesus never said.
It’s Holy Saturday. Two days ago on Holy Thursday, my church community met together to tell the Passover story and wash each other’s feet. Yesterday we met to read the Passion story and deck the Cross with daffodils. Tomorrow will be a huge celebration, with flowers and dancing and feasting, of his victory over death. But today? Nothing is happening.
That’s exactly how the disciples must have felt on Holy Saturday. They were in the denial stage of grief: I can’t believe he’s gone! I can’t believe he’s not really the Messiah! He didn’t lead us to victory after all! He did so many miracles, he set our hearts on fire, and now he’s gone, and we feel so empty.
I am stuck in Holy Saturday mode on a daily basis way more than I’d like. Even though I know, as the disciples didn’t, that Jesus actually did lead us to victory, from day to day he seems, if not absent, at least sometimes distant. I’m faced with another day which doesn’t seem to bring any changes. I’m staring at the same old temptations at work, the same old relationships often fraught with tension, the same old childhood issues haunting me, the same shadows of war and famine and disaster haunting planet Earth, and it all feels dark and empty.
But – thank God! – my feelings are not a reliable measure of reality. That’s what it means to live in faith: we cling to hope when every sign points to despair. We affirm our relationship with God even when it doesn’t feel exciting or fruitful that day. We wait in patience for the coming celebration, which we know is right around the corner, inevitable as another Easter Sunday.
Our world is full of so many yet-unfulfilled hopes. We still mourn. We still feel humiliated in our meekness. We are still hungry and thirsty for justice. And yet we hope in the promises Jesus made… even though he didn’t promise they’d happen this Saturday.