Friday is pure terror. Sunday will be incredible redemption. But there’s a day in between. It’s the day after this, the day before that. Why is there an Easter Saturday? Would it have made a difference to salvation if Crucifixion was immediately followed by Resurrection?

Ever wondered what the disciples did on Easter Saturday? Waking up after 2 sleepless days, the adrenaline worn off. They must have felt crushingly lost that whole day and through the long hours of Saturday night. There’s a different, kind of spiritual pain when terror has passed and numbness wears off enough to begin to think again…and we know what we will ask…’Why in God’s name did this happen?’ met with divine silence. We have all known Easter Saturdays.

This year I have learnt from the example of Mary Magdalene in John’s Gospel (read it here . John tells us what Mary did once Friday had past, before Sunday arrives. She stayed with friends. The Gospels almost always mention Mary in a list of women friends, Joanna, Salome, the ‘other Mary’. That’s sound advice. Don’t sit alone in the dark if you don’t have to. Then, unlike any other disciple, she persistently tracks Jesus, even though she believes he is dead; staying to the end of the crucifixion, observing his body removed from the cross, watching the rushed burial. It is Mary who has the grit to stand and watch. And then, thirdly, she finds comfort in rituals, going out to buy the proper spices to anoint the body. Natural coping mechanisms that can help anyone in the depths of grief: friends, ritual, just standing still and noting what is happening and how you are feeling, without expecting to understand.

And then, the 3rd day. Just when she thinks Easter Sunday is a fancy funeral for a good but dead man, she learns its more like a birthday, hers. He is risen. She is reborn.


*This blog is inspired by the original writing of John Ortberg in Who Is This Man?