My Great Uncle Lloyd died last night at 9:30 pm, just after his minister had finished saying a prayer with him and the family. It was expected, as Aunt Nancy was told about a week ago that he would be gone within 2 weeks. Family members were able to visit him the last few days. Even so, the pain of the parting is still there. Please pray for my family as arrangements are made and this time of grieving commences.
So, he died on Good Friday. By ancient Jewish reckoning he died on Holy Saturday, since their days start at sundown the night before and go to sundown the next day. It seems appropriate to join these two thoughts together. Holy Saturday was a day of grief and hopelessness. The Savior was dead. The believers still didn’t understand what Jesus had told them. How could they? They had never seen someone come back from the dead by his own power. They saw Jesus raise the dead, but now Jesus is dead and he can’t help himself – they thought.
So many people live their lives in Holy Saturday. Even believers find themselves here. Life is hard. There are sorrows and there are catastrophes. Grief and struggle seem to be a constant part of life for most people. Everyone trudges through the same old same old days. We just try to make it to the next day, only to repeat the trudging. Sometimes there is joy and happiness, but the sorrow and crises are bound to return. These are “lives of quiet desperation.” This is exactly where Jesus’ followers were on Holy Saturday and again, where many people remain their whole lives.
But it is not where Uncle Lloyd is. He was the last of my Grandfather’s siblings to die. There is a reunion going on in Heaven today – Holy Saturday! Good Friday is done and Sunday is just around the corner. Saturday is just a day of waiting – of expectation for those who know the rest of the story. Death is just a parting and a waiting for the reunion. Yes, there is sorrow and very real grief. Uncle Lloyd will be missed by so many people! But, there just below the surface is joy as well. Joy that Uncle Lloyd is healthy and whole now. Joy that this is not the end because this sorrow will one day be replaced with the joy of reunion.
How can this be? Because Good Friday was not the end for Jesus! We have a Holy Saturday because of what happened Sunday. Jesus had “the authority to lay his life down (and die) and he had the authority to take it up again (and live again!)” on Sunday. He rose from the grave and because he did, all who believe in him, though they die, will live forever with him. Holy Saturday can be sad, but because I believe in the rest of the story, I know that it is sadness tinged with joy. So, I say goodbye to my Uncle Lloyd. Even so, I am expecting to see him again!