Living on Saturday.

The other day, I heard someone again say “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.” It’s an Easter season statement, talking about the Friday of the crucifixion and the Sunday of the resurrection. There’s a sermon that repeats that theme, reminding people that times may be tough but that there is hope.

Which is fine. Mostly. Sort of.

Unless you are like the disciples on that Friday, watching your dreams having been destroyed. In that moment, the knowledge that Sunday was coming was unimaginable.

Unless you are like Mary and Martha who asked God to heal their brother and then watched their brother die.

Unless you are like everyone who has watched a loved one die, knowing that you will not see them again as long as you have a body and theirs is dead. Sunday is coming, but we’re living in Saturday.

Unless the person saying it wants you to stop crying and be happy.

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This is not to say that there is no hope. This is not to say that we cannot find courage, As we walk with our grief we will learn how the waves of emotion hit us, how to do the practical things our loved one did.

But in time. We will learn in time. We live in time.

At the moment of grief, in the room following a death, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming” can feel like a demand: don’t feel bad. Or an expectation for better faith: if you were a better believer. Or an expectation of capacity: You need to be strong.

The challenge is not one of truth but of timing. Theological statements may be true, but may not equally helpful, equally supportive at all times.

“Sunday’s coming, but right now it’s Friday, and we can sit together and cry.”

Because, after all, if Jesus did promise to be with us always, Jesus will be with us in our tears.

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Here was my Easter Sunday message at the hospital chapel.

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