It’s the day after Good Friday; Saturday, the day before Easter. The day after Jesus died I seriously doubt anyone was referring to it as “Good” Friday. What could they possibly have seen as good about it? We call it “good” because we know the purpose and the outcome. Without that revelation, there is nothing good about a crucifixion. As I was doing my devotions this morning I was contemplating this day, Saturday, the day between two significant days. Traditionally once I have looked at the cross on Friday and meditated on what Jesus did, my thoughts turn to the celebration of the resurrection. This day in between, this Saturday is awkward. I don’t quite know what to do with it. Knowing the outcome of that friday makes it feel like just an extra awkward day.
2000 years ago the Saturday after the crucifixion was not just an extra day. There was no anticipation of a resurrection which would be celebrated as Easter. It was a day of deep mourning. Jesus was dead. All hopes, dreams, expectations gone in his death. My thoughts in devotion turned to the women who followed Jesus. So many of them like the women I reach out to here in Bangkok. I can only imagine the degree of pain and sadness they might have felt. These women who had been rejected because they were prostitutes or an adulterer, or unmarried, or possessed, or sick had found hope in Jesus. Jesus noticed them. Jesus forgave them. Jesus stood up for them. Jesus healed them. Jesus made them feel special again. Jesus made them feel visible and human again. Jesus made them feel like their lives made a difference. Jesus made them feel loved. They hadn’t found that in any other person. Now Jesus was gone. The one person who really saw and loved them was gone. Once again, abandoned, once again betrayed, once again their dreams crushed under the bitter heavy weight of disappointment. What would that have felt like? There was never nor would there ever be anyone else like Jesus. Saturday, the day after Jesus died was a day of unconsolable mourning.
Today, I know many women who still live unseen, misunderstood, rejected, and discarded. They have not yet had an encounter with Jesus. They do not yet know that there is one who will bring unspeakable joy as he calls them by name. They live in the in-between Saturday but they do not know what they grieve. Life just feels pointless. They also do not yet know, the power of the resurrection that took place for them, that offers them hope, that offers them new life.
To the women on that first Easter, the resurrection came as a surprise in the midst of mourning. Extreme sadness to ecstatic joy in a moment. Jesus was alive and with his resurrection, hope also came alive.
By God’s grace may we all become more aware of the many women who still live in the Saturday between death and resurrection. May we run to them with the good news announcing that Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday, and that the emptiness of an in-between Saturday can become the joyful abundance of new life on Sunday. Easter is coming to their lives and with it hope and new life through Jesus.