Guest Post from…Justin Heinzekehr is a PhD student at Claremont Lincoln University studying theology, philosophy and ethics. He teaches high school Bible at the Peace and Justice Academy in Pasadena, and has created and is reading through perhaps the world’s most comprehensive list of great books. I (Hannah) think it is rather convenient and nice to be married to someone who is also interested in studying theology, and I am grateful that my husband was willing to write a post for The Femonite today.
You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…
It’s hard to know how to feel on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter. No one really talks about this day. I’ve never heard of anyone doing a “Good Saturday” program, or a Saturday sunrise service, or a Saturday brunch. The gospels aren’t much help either. As far as I know, Matthew is the only one to talk about that Saturday, and then the only thing that happens is that the Roman guards seal up Jesus’ tomb (27:62-66). In Luke, it just says, “Then they rested according to the commandment” (23:56). Mark and John are silent about that day. The Saturday before Easter seems to be one of the most ambiguous days in the church calendar, sandwiched right in between a day of mourning and a day of celebration, but without any characteristics of its own.
As I think about this more, though, it seems to me that we all have plenty of “Good Saturday” experiences in life. These are the times in between pain and healing, the times when we are unable to take any action at all. The wise philosopher, Dr. Seuss, called this the “Waiting Place.” He writes in Oh, the Places You’ll Go, of a “most useless place” where everyone is simply waiting.
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
As a young(ish) adult, I have felt this ambiguity a lot in my post-college years. Whereas school provides you with a clear path forward, graduation opens up a kind of wilderness before you. You come to the end of the script, but find that the play hasn’t ended yet. It’s not necessarily a painful experience, nor certainly a joyful one, but merely uncertain and sometimes disconcerting.
I think Good Saturday might help us to make sense of this experience. This is a time when we don’t quite know what to feel or do. Like the disciples, we no longer have someone to provide us with a clear vision. On both Friday and Sunday, there was at least clarity about how they should react – either mourning or celebrating. But on Saturday, they just waited.