“…Weeping may endure for a night. But joy comes in the morning.”
There had to be a sense of relief for Mary and the disciples when Jesus finally breathed his last and was taken down from the cross. Now he was no longer suffering. Those of us who have kept vigil with someone who is lingering in pain understand the relief that comes with death, the end of suffering. We are then buoyed by friends and family who surround us with love and care throughout the funeral and burial.
But eventually we sadly wonder, “What do we do now? How do we go on from here?” We are thrown into muddled confusion and depression as we try to figure out a new way of living without our loved one.
The Saturday Easter Vigil has become a precious part of my Lenten/Easter journey. Jesus has died, but we have yet to witness his resurrection. The Vigil is the sad and confusing time between death and new life. This is how it is with any loss in life. After any significant “death”- loss of our loved one, our career, our health, our dream- eventually resurrection comes. We eventually learn a new way of living, a new way of being. But in between those times, we are lost, confused, sad, and despairing. We have entered the tomb. Darkness surrounds us.
And yet, it is in this darkness of the tomb where Jesus was transformed. His lifeless, battered body was transformed into new life that would soon exit the closed tomb. God was busily transforming Jesus while his loved ones grieved and rested on the Sabbath. As Mary and the disciples were reeling from the sudden terrible outcome for Jesus, God was already working to give them new hope and joy.
God is at work during our tomb times, too. In the midst of our deepest despair, God is already working in us. When we are at our weakest, God is strong. When we are very confused, God can redirect us. When we are unable to see the future, God provides our vision and dream. This is where God does great work in us; transforming us into fresh, newly resurrected beings. Note that this is not merely “revival.” This is not a restoration of our old life, but a new life, a new way of being. This is unexpected RESURRECTION.
And so today, let us keep vigil. Let us watch and wait with hope for God to work in Jesus. Let us watch and wait with hope for God to work in us. Whatever losses we have faced, whatever darkness we may be feeling, we can trust that God is already re-creating us for a beautiful resurrection.
Wait in the darkness. But wait with hope and expectation.