Saturday, Jesus was still in the tomb. The Pharisees thought they’d won. Rome was safe from any upstarts. The disciples didn’t have a clue as to what was going on. Their hope had been crucified along with Jesus. Peter had to remember saying to Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life…”
Today, we ponder death. Yes, resurrection comes in the morning, but we can’t forget that Christ chose to take your place and mine when God’s wrath was poured out on all of the sin, past and future. And yet, we still die. Our bodies can’t do this forever. But our spirits will live, waiting for the day when Christ returns, waiting for our own resurrections, for the day when the Kingdom of Heaven becomes apparent to all.
Death is the enemy
You know what I do when I hate something? I mock it. I belittle it. I’m good at this kind of thing. So good that it should probably be on my resumé. It might be some sort of ill-used spiritual gift that needs an extra dose of sanctification. But some things deserve this kind of treatment. It’s offensive to some, but I don’t speak of death reverently. Don’t misunderstand- I grieve the loss of life and honor those who’ve passed before me, but death itself deserves no respect.
The good news of the Saturday before Easter is that Jesus took the keys to death and hell, disarming and putting them to shame in the triumph His believers didn’t know was coming. The good news is that though my body may die, I will live because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. The good news is that while still living, I have been given life that I didn’t have before and couldn’t have alone. This is the good news of the day before the resurrection.
We all have those life events that we frequently ponder, either wondering what they day will look like as well as when will it finally happen? Some people plan their wedding(s) years in advance. Others, parties, or the birth of their firstborn. I think about my funeral. I speculate and occasionally write down the occasional idea. Morbid, I know. At least I don’t have a Pinterest board dedicated to it. Because some people do.
When I finally die- something that for various reasons I fear won’t happen- I want my funeral to be a joyous occasion. It needs to be a mockery of death. My funeral will be a celebration of the day that death lost its grip on me. If anyone feels the need to weep, they should be banished to a dark room where they can cry alone. There should be singing and loud, super obnoxious music. Bright lights and party favors and beer. There will be a dance floor. If anyone brings old photos of me, they’d better be awful- just for laughs. I’d like to have a live elephant there somewhere. You know why.
To anyone who’s not a believer, this probably won’t make any sense. It will likely be distasteful and strange. It will be up to the believers to let everyone else in on the joke, to share with them the reason for the hope and joy they have, even though they’ve been touched by death.