What happened on Saturday?

Holy Saturday. For we pastors who run the entire Holy Week race, we’re coming out of the final turn on the way to Easter morning. The week has been filled with extra worship services for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and a few visits to some homebound members who won’t be in worship tomorrow, perennially the biggest Sunday of the year. What do pastor’s do on that in-between day?

For me, it’s pretty relaxing. I didn’t have to get up as early as I usually do. I did a little sermon review for Sunday. Then I oiled up the valves and blew a few notes through my trumpet, just staying limber for tomorrow’s hymns. I exercised, did some grocery shopping, bought a new tie for tomorrow, got into the Easter candy, and may still take a nap this afternoon. All in all, a pretty nice day.

What happened on that Saturday before Jesus’ resurrection? Not much. It’s the Sabbath, so it’s a day away from the regular routines of work. The reality of Jesus’ death is beginning to hit those who knew and loved him. Thoughts of having to get up early to finish taking care of his corpse were on the minds of some. Fear haunted those in hiding; “Now what are we going to do?” The Roman soldiers had to work, guarding the tomb.

The one thing that we do not see on that Saturday is any kind of celebration from Satan and his demons. Why not? The Christ is dead. This should be their moment. They can run amok  unhindered through creation and mankind. They’ve won. They should be celebrating. They should be planning the parade.

But they’re not. Maybe they knew. Maybe they knew that this pause in the story isn’t a good thing. When Jesus said he’d rise, the disciples didn’t get it. Maybe the demons did. From the beginning they knew who he was. And they knew they didn’t have a chance.

In a sense, much of life is Saturday. We’re waiting for resurrection, for the return of Christ. For some, it’s relaxing. Others have to work. Some are afraid. Many hope it comes soon. We’ll get a taste of it tomorrow, in word and sacrament and song, and be reminded that death doesn’t have a chance!

A long, long line

img_7631.jpg“Hey honey, what do you want to do this afternoon?”

“I don’t know. The house is clean, lawn’s cut, dog bathed, laundry’s done, bills paid, supper’s in the crock pot. Not much going on around here. Let’s go wait in the car rider line at school for a couple of hours.”

Said no one ever. Except, apparently, in our community. Elementary school dismisses at 3:30 pm. The first cars arrive to get in line to pick up their kids at about 2:15 pm. By 2:45, there are fifty cars in line, on the south side, on the north side and on the east side of the school. I can’t even imagine how long the line is at 3, never mind 3:30 when the fist child walks out the door. No matter what you do, you’re in for a long wait, on a hot afternoon, with the car and AC running all that time.

My math brain wonders what the optimal arrival time is. It’s probably not the first to arrive, nor the last. There must be a sweet spot where you aren’t too far back and don’t have to arrive absurdly early. If I had to do that, I would hack that system to find the arrival time that actually made for the shortest wait time.

However, I would last about one day in that line before I started screaming and tearing my hair out. Our sweet spot was to let our kids ride the bus and for us it worked out well. That plus a little bit of extended day made mornings and afternoons easier. Those might not be the best choices for some, but I’m amazed how many have the free time and the patience to sit that long in the car rider line!

I won’t even talk about walking to school, because then I’ll start to sound really old…

But I will wonder out loud, “What’s the longest line I’ve ever waited in?” Interesting question. Airport? It felt longer but probably wasn’t more than an hour to check in or go through security. Disney? Probably 90 minutes for a ride. International immigration? I think I did a few 2 hour waits for a visa and passport stamp. 

But those were isolated incidents. It would be tough to do that every day.