That’s the message I received early on Holy Saturday. Our Easter service was uploading, and it was taking a while, and we are getting nervous. The holiest celebration of the Christian year, now dependent on the bandwidth of residential internet. So many anxieties rushed to the service. What if it doesn’t upload in time? What if it never uploads? What if there’s a glitch? What if our church fails to offer an Easter service?
Holy Saturday, Easter Vigil, this is a day of waiting and asking questions. Can you imagine that first Holy Saturday? It was still sabbath. Jesus had died and was buried before sundown on Friday. The disciples were gathered in a locked house. They were afraid for their lives. They had so many questions. Would they be next? If the ones who killed Jesus discovered their hide-out, would they be dragged before Pilate, too? Would they be flogged and nailed to crosses, too?
I imagine the questions got more profound as the day and night dragged on. Had the movement been for nothing? Did they leave their nets, their professions, their families for nothing? What about all those miracles, the healings and exorcisms? That had to mean something? Was it all over? Jesus said he would be crucified, he was right about that. Didn’t he also say he would rise three days later? Could he be right about that? What if he is? What if he isn’t? Do we continue to follow? Can this movement be saved? Is it finished?
Holy Saturday is the day we pause and think. The vigil is a time to reread the stories, starting with Genesis. We read the whole narrative of scripture and let it sink in. What has God been up to since the beginning? What is God up to now? We pause to let the questions linger and to offer our prayers and to ask God to help us make sense of what’s going on.
Why has God allowed this pandemic to sweep the world? What does it mean when we say “we’re all in this together?” What is the most faithful way to wait for this to be over? How will it be different? Will it ever be the same again? Where is God in all of this?
We’re waiting to find out. I’m waiting for Easter to upload. In the middle of the unknowing, the waiting and the questions, I’m turning to God and trusting. Trusting God knows what I don’t. Trusting God is with us when we are anxious, afraid, curious, and filled with questions. Trusting that the God of Easter is with us and will see us through. And so we wait.