As I write this, the weather outside is almost perfect for an Easter Saturday: it’s damp, it’s dreich, and clouds cover the sky like a light grey blanket. It’s easy to imagine that some disappointed disciples wandering home with fear in their hearts and confusion in their heads.
But, as a wise man once said, Sunday’s coming.
“Sunday’s coming.” For many those words simply mean that the last day of the weekend is nearly here. That might mean your one day off work. It might mean that you can move from doing your shopping to doing some DIY. It might even mean that it’s time to watch football on TV.
For Christians the world over, “Sunday’s coming” means something much more profound. For them, for me, “Sunday’s coming” means that soon it will be time to give an entire day to God, to worship Him, praise Him and meet up with others who share the same hope. This weekend, it means even more than that.
Almost two thousand years ago, for handful of disciples, men and women, labourers and business people, Sunday’s coming meant that soon and very soon, their time of fear and mourning would be transformed into celebration. Sunday’s coming meant that soon they would see an empty tomb, a confused and angry religious leadership and, much more importantly, a risen saviour. If Friday was all about Jesus being shamed and seemingly defeated, Sunday was going to be all about Jesus being victorious and powerful.
For this reason, Easter is the single most important date on the Christian calendar. Oh Christmas might well be the day with the better known songs. It might well be the day that is more comfortable to celebrate but without Easter, Christmas is simply about God paying us a visit. God becoming one of us is a powerful idea but it is Easter that gives this concept its full meaning. The Bible makes clear that Easter is the reason Christmas happened in the first place. God became one of us, not to lord Himself over us but to serve and, eventually, to die and rise again paying for our mess-ups with His life.
At Easter, in the midst of chocolate totting bunnies and thousands of calories, it’s easy for our celebration of the day to become as hollow as the eggs we eat. Crack open our stories of the Easter bunny and there isn’t a lot of substance inside. It won’t calm our fears, challenge out hate, soothe our hurts or offer us hope.
Jesus will. Only Jesus, an ordinarily looking guy from a town that didn’t amount to much, could take an instrument of appalling torture and turn it into a symbol of hope. Only Jesus could look at a savage beating, unrelenting mocking and a rough wooden cross and see them all as symbols of healing and hope.
So this weekend, remember that Sunday is coming. For your hurts and your fears, Sunday is coming to offer you a chance to hand them all over and have them dealt with. For your pain and your loss, Sunday is coming to offer you comfort and hope. For the wrong you’ve done, for the hurt you’ve cause, Sunday is coming to offer you forgiveness and freedom. Saturday might look bleak, damp and overcast but on Sunday the light will shine!