The walk between Good Friday and Easter Sunday has various parallels to the grief journey. They are both of very different lengths yet there is an informal correlation to the classic stages of grief (which may or may not be everyone´s experience). On Friday there is a passage through darkness, pain and death, followed by Saturday´s quiet loneliness, never ending questions and slowness of the passing of time and Sunday´s hope at the end. I believe only those who choose to focus on - or at least try to be open to - Sunday´s reality and meaning will make it through their grief.
Friday is dark. It is full of agony, pain, injustice, confusion, crowds and some bad decisions. For the ones who loved Jesus, there were probably plenty of other tearful ones around them sharing their grief. There were also lots of other difficult emotions like shame & guilt, confusion, anger, utter disbelief & shock. It was not a day anyone would soon forget. It was also a day which marked forever all of His disciples; they would never again be the same. Even history was divided by this extraordinary day. It is a day consummate with the heaviness of grief while at the same time laden with deep meaning.
Saturday was quiet. Most had gone to their homes Friday night. Some of the disciples met together but the crowds were gone...everyone turning over yesterday´s events and questions in their minds. The disappointment of those who had followed Jesus hung gloomily in the air. They thought He would be their King! How did everything go so very wrong? Saturday is full of questions, anger, the rehearsing of events in their mind, loneliness, disillusionment and quiet. Time passes very slowly on Saturday.
The classic stages (or interweaving phases) are shock/denial, anger, dialogue & bargaining, depression & detachment and acceptance. We see these reflected in the characters´ emotions and dialogue in the gospel narrations of Christ´s death, burial and resurrection.
Those who determine to stay open to the hope of Sunday make it through their grief (not that it is ever actually over). Without the hope and power of Sunday´s resurrection, we would live continuously in the horror of Friday´s death events or the interminable, confused waiting of Saturday. Having a resurrection before us is our only hope! There is only one hope in grief - that the Redeemer will somehow redeem death.
Getting from Friday to Sunday in heartbroken pain is an enormous task. Believing for Sunday´s hope takes emotional energy and there isn´t much of that when you are trudging through continual sadness so heavy you can hardly move. But we who grieve must keep walking and waiting, day by day, step by step. There is no other way to receive healing, to see light again, to make peace with God, to embrace hope.
Those who have travelled through Friday and Saturday intentionally will be the ones to appreciate and treasure the power and healing of Sunday.
May your ¨walk¨ this weekend be full of meaning.