We've had an unusually beautiful and warm spring in Iowa this year. Since winter is my least favorite season and it has been long gone, I should be very happy about spring. I like warmer weather, I like having my windows open and the breeze blowing in, I like seeing trees and flowers blooming and the grass growing.
There's one problem though.
I don't really like being outside. I am not the type to want to go on a hike, go fishing, go camping, or any of those types of outside activities (however, if we had a beach, I'd love to be there all the time).
I feel badly when I am cranky on a day when the sun is shining warmly on the earth, the sky is clear and blue, the wind is still, and the birds are singing. Why would that make anyone cranky? But it is mornings like today's that I often feel happy, especially if we end up having a thunderstorm. My weather gadget on my browser tells me we have only a 12% chance of rain, however, and I can already see a clearer sky in the west. The town in which I most recently lived, though, is supposed to have thunderstorms this morning. I'm a little jealous.
Regardless of whether or not one likes storms or sunny days better, today's gray, cloudy, and rainy day is a perfect metaphor to follow Good Friday. Yesterday was the day that Christians remembered Jesus dying on the cross.
At three o'clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, "Listen, he is calling for Elijah." And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down." Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. --Mark 15:34-38, NRSVAnd hope was gone.
For all of the people who believed that Jesus was the Messiah who would save Israel, hope was gone. A dead Messiah couldn't save. For all of these people, it was a day of downpouring rain in their hearts.
They went home and went about their usual Sabbath activities. But that's all the texts tell us about that. They don't specifically tell us that someone they had cared about, been close to, learned from, loved, was now dead. They don't tell us about the conversations spoken, the tears shed. They don't tell us what they were thinking. Maybe things like "what now?" Did they wonder "why did I believe in him?" Mixed in with their grief was likely confusion and even doubt.
On this nameless Saturday between Good Friday and Easter, it makes perfect sense for it to be a dark and dreary day to help us experience just a small amount of what people felt so long ago.