The Christian life is death and resurrection. It is the cross and the crown, the mourning and the dancing, the Friday and the Sunday, the release and the redemption, the laying down and the lifting up.
The paradox and the tension is that the one needs the other. We don’t get to Sunday without Friday. We don’t get to new life without the breaking of the seed. We don’t get the birth without the aches and the groans.
When Eve cried out in anguish as her firstborn emerged, this was the beginning of our life in the paradox. God would take our brokenness and allow new life to break through the pain. As Anne Lamott says, “Hope begins in the dark.”
Our lives then, as those following in the way of Jesus, are ever in the tension of the death and the resurrection, discerning where to meet Jesus at the cross in weeping, and where to sing our Alleluias in rejoicing. Our corporate worship and the Church calendar is all practice for the everyday actual places where we must draw near to the cross or encounter the empty tomb.
Our Fridays look like coming alongside those in the throes of death, those beaten and persecuted, those cast out, those crying out that they’ve been forsaken. It looks like a revolution that causes religious leaders and dominions and powers to tremble and call for the crucifixion of that which will only be resurrected.
Our Sundays look like the glorious embrace of those who have found new life, it looks like touching nail-scarred hands and rejoicing over each sign of redemption, it looks like feasts with outsiders ushered in, the prophetic embodiment of the new kingdom.
And we have Saturdays, too. God gives gracious room for doubt. There’s room for longing, for waiting, for questions. There’s a space at the table for Thomas and Peter and Jonah. There’s room for lament and wrestling and groaning. Yet God does not leave us there.
I’m wrestling in the tension today.
I’m grieving, aching, longing for Love to break through darkness. This isn’t an abstract, out-of-body, ethereal reality – it’s in the actual minds and bodies and moments of people I love. And it’s in the stories I read of, the names and faces who I won’t let be facts and figures and issues, but people who bear the image of God, the blessed poor in spirit.
And I’m singing Alleluias, as I listen to my four-year old singing slightly incomprehensible praises at the top of her lungs, freely loved and freely loving, as I watch my nine-year old smile in a way I’ve hardly seen for months, as my 13-year old laughs and plays with fear cast aside.
And I’m crying out in the unknown, the not yet, the how-can-this-be of the in-between time.
Yet we have this stubborn hope. We can enter into the Fridays and the Saturdays because Sunday always comes. We’ll sit at gravesides and hospital beds and prison cells and the doors next to our beloved one’s hearts because death won’t have the last word. We’ll come alongside the broken and the weary and the oppressed – and allow others to come alongside us – because in the end, hope wins. Light overcomes. Love conquers.
Resurrection always gets the last say.