Every life visit graves, and every life ends with a grave.
Where is the abundant life when we are standing beside a grave?
I imagine that question passed through the minds of the disciples as they hid behind locked doors after Jesus died. From their vantage point, “Good Friday” was not good. It squashed their dreams and dashed their hopes. The abundant life ended with the death of Jesus.
The disciples had invested everything in Jesus. They left everything and followed him. They thought he was the Redeemer of Israel, the Messiah. Hope filled their lives, and they had some amazing experiences filled with joy and expectation. The abundant life was theirs, but now it had disappeared; it had evaporated before their eyes in a matter of hours.
Holy Saturday is the day we sit with the disciples in their fear, grief, and disillusionment. We sit with them because those days are also part of our lives. We don’t live on a mountain peak of praise and joy every day. Some days we have to face pain, hurt, and even death.
To skip Holy Saturday minimizes death and the world’s pain. To rush from Friday to Sunday fails to hear the victims, hurts, and the dark realities present in the world. We must listen, and we must weep with those who weep. We must weep for our own hurt as well as the hurts of others.
Jesus suffered with us in death, and his death reminds us that death is part of life. Suffering comes before glory; death comes before resurrection.
Abundant life faces life’s challenges, acknowledges the reality of suffering, and follows Jesus through suffering into life.
The abundant life does not avoid or escape suffering. On the contrary, it endures it, and the abundant life triumphs over it. Like Jesus, we must first suffer and then enter into glory. Only those who have suffered or suffered with others know authentic life.
Let us sit with the disciples this day; let us sit with the hopeless, the weary, the hurting, and the victims. Let us await the dawn of Easter with them.