In this enforced time of isolation during the current crisis, I’ve been calling our friends to check in on them. My call to Bob Jackson and his wife Janette was thought provoking.
“How are you?”
Bob’s voice had a smile in it, but he answered, “In between.”
“What do you mean?”
“We’re in between. You know, between the life we had before and the one we hope will come to us soon. In between.”
That struck me, for “in between” perfectly describes where we Christians are, especially today.
Holy Saturday lies between the dark Friday afternoon of the Crucifixion and the bright morning of Sunday’s Resurrection.
The body of our Lord — truly dead — lies in the tomb between life and life: the earthly life he held and willingly sacrificed for our sins — and the glorified eternal life with which he will rise on Easter morning. Today, Holy Saturday is the only time Jesus is really absent from us. We do not have him walking among us in the flesh, nor is he yet present with the Father to send us the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.
The world lies in between. Jesus has redeemed a sinful world by his death upon the cross: a new age and a new world has begun. Yet as Paul says, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Romans 8. 22)
Finally, we live in between. To continue Paul’s thought, “…we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8. 23)
“In between” accurately describes us as Christians, not only during this crisis but also throughout our lives. From the day of our Baptism, we begin to experience the “in between” life. We have died with Christ and our sins are forgiven, yet we still live subject to temptation. We worship our Risen Lord, yet still place the nails in his hands and feet by our continued sin.
Furthermore, Jesus calls us to live “in between” lives: to be Christ’s body on earth until His return; the “first fruits” who are in this world but not of it.
May this Holy Saturday bring us a closer remembrance of the “in between” reality of our Christian lives. We live within the trials and losses of this life while we hope for the life which will come to us as surely as Christ’s Resurrection came on Easter Sunday. Let us find joy in the knowledge that tomorrow we once again will shout with joy, “He is Risen!”