Saturday, April 3, 2021
Wait. . .
The Psalmist says "Wait on the Lord..." and if you check a concordance, you find these words echoed throughout the Scriptures. But we do not like waiting. Though it is awkward for us, it was terrible for the disciples who waited that first Holy Saturday. What they had seen on Good Friday etched in their minds and hearts a picture of death so powerful they forgot what Jesus had told them. In the grip of loss, they gathered together a few, hid in the homes for some others, and did what all of us so much of our lives. They waited. For the disciples, the waiting led to a surprise ending. For us it is waiting for what we know is coming, an anticipation, of sorts. The danger to us is rushing too quickly to put the cross behind us. For even though we know the outcome, the cross remains ever before us.
Our waiting is far different. We wait not as those who do not know the outcome of the story but as those who do not want to wait to celebrate what we already know to be true. For too many Christians, there is no waiting at all. They drive by the cross with a nod and buzz off to the party without so much as a moment of somber reflection and hopeful waiting. I am sorry for them. They are too busy to wait on the Lord for this awkward day between the Friday we call Good and the Sunday that transforms our view of life. They are too busy for the Lord. Period.
This waiting is good. This waiting is the needful time to connect the death that pays sin's terrible cost and the life that death cannot overcome. Easter is not to balance out the sorrow of Good Friday or to erase its memory or even to make up for the death.. Good Friday and Easter are the same story -- the same good news. We cannot be Easter Christians without Good Friday and we cannot end our story at Good Friday without celebrating the Easter victory that gives us hope. We must have both. They go together. This time of waiting allows us the time to connect this death the innocent dies for the guilty with the life He gives to the dying. Wait on the Lord and you find the surprise of grace! Always.
Tonight at the Vigil we will wait upon the Lord around the font where He bind us to Good Friday and Easter. We will carry the Light into the darkness, the Light the darkness cannot overcome. We will hear the story of God's deliverance spread over generations until it comes in the flesh of His Son. We will gather around the font and witness the individuals who will receive its blessed gift of life, identity, and grace. We will recall our own baptism into Christ's death and resurrection and, remembering, we will mark the sign of the cross upon us with baptismal water. Our memory renewed by the promise that needs no renewing. And then we will anticipate the dawn by rejoicing in our Easter victory. The black of Good Friday will give way to the white of Easter paraments and banners. The building will smell of Easter with the lilies that adorn the altar. What a wonderful bridge from waiting to celebration!