So, it’s Easter Weekend — it pretty much consists of two holidays: Good Friday and Easter Sunday, right? I think the general consensus has been that nothing really special happened on the “second day” of the Easter story (I mean, unless you count the town officials sealing the tomb and placing guards there… meh?). So no need to make a fuss, right? Wellllll, I hate to say it, but I think many of us have actually been missing out on part of the story that is, dare I say, just about as significant as the death and the resurrection days. I call it: the second-day stillness.
There was a time when I felt like I was part of a diminutive percentage of the general population stuck in a season of waiting. But now? Now, I’m thinking it’s safe to say that on a global scale there isn’t one person who can say they aren’t waiting for something. Waiting for a cure for COVID-19. Waiting to hug the necks of their loved ones they’ve had to social distance themselves from. Waiting on a job to replace the one they lost due to layoffs or furloughs. Waiting until it’s more safe to receive medical treatment for what ails them. Waiting to go to the grocery store (and successfully purchase toilet paper, am I right?). Waiting to go on a date with the one. Waiting to start their life with their fiancé. Waiting to grow one’s family. Waiting for retirement. Waiting… Waiting… Waiting…
When Jesus was crucified, God’s people had already waited through countless generations for the arrival of their savior. Those who believed that Jesus was in fact the Son of God had their hearts broken and their hopes shattered on Good Friday. His disciples watched Jesus suffer and die the most agonizing death known to man, and then hid away for fear of suffering same persecution from the people who sent Jesus to his death. The outside world had buried Jesus and was now blocking the entry to his tomb, whereas his believers stood still: isolated, scattered, hidden from the world, just waiting for their nightmare to end. They felt defeated, clinging to Jesus’s words and the words of the scriptures. They ultimately had no other choice but to shelter in place and be still. That’s how the first “second day” was spent.
Sounds a lot like where many of us are today, doesn’t it? Uncertain about the future. Powerless to change our circumstances. Forced to be still. Held up in our homes, praying for this dreaded virus to pass over. We are clinging to the scriptures of hope and God’s faithfulness to carry us through this season. Waiting for resolution.
This wait, while it may be where our weakness is most evident, it is also where strength rises; where our faith is found and our hope is built. And in the stillness, that is where God speaks the loudest. You know, when all the clutter and all the noise have been removed.
Have you seen what God does in the waiting? He works. He works overtime. He carries out His good and perfect plan. The plan where He takes all of the bad in life; all of the pain; all of the anxiety; all the fear; all the failures; all the tears. And then, like only He can, takes all of these things that the devil meant for evil and uses them to bring about good. Ashes are turned to beauty. Pain is turned to joy. Despair is turned to hope. These works of transformation are all integral parts of His plan — a plan that is in constant motion, even when we are forced to be still; especially when we are forced to be still, because only then we can attest that the outcomes are never a result of our striving.
Do you think it’s a fluke that all of this is happening worldwide right now? Right. Now. Think about it. This is Holy Week. An entire week where the whole world comes out to celebrate Jesus’s triumph over death and darkness. Instead, church doors are closed. People are afraid to leave their homes. Corporate worship is actually considered “illegal” right now. Hello? Easter is consistently the highest-attended church service of the year. I know the devil hates Easter and all (I mean, nobody really likes their nose being rubbed in their most epic failure on a global scale year after year), but this kind of retaliation is pretty diabolical, even for him.
Remember what happened during the second-day stillness that first Easter? The devil thought he had won, but God continued to work overtime, bringing His plan to perfect completion on the third day. You want to talk about taking something meant for evil and using it for good? Jesus took his own death and turned it into a source of life. That third day, He walked right out of that grave and commissioned his believers not to fear, but to instead rise up in perpetual victory over the power of evil forever and spread the Gospel.
So here we are, more than two millennia later, faced with the stillness of Easter Eve in this shared season of waiting. Is it just me, or are you also seeing Holy Week as an incredible metaphor for this exact time in our generation’s history? We are not in control of our external circumstances. We are scattered and held up in our homes, face to face with fear and disappointment. Right now, the devil thinks he’s won by fear mongering, separating all of us, putting believers in isolation. But I’ve got news for him: this Easter, it. is. ON. The grave is still empty in perpetual victory over evil, and we are commissioned to cast our fears aside and rise up!
Now, don’t go putting on your shoes to go storm the nearest public place — we are not invading any 6ft personal space bubbles here. What I’m saying is, contrary to what the devil wants us to think, the church building does not make up the church body and a live stage does not dictate our ability to worship together. If anything, God has taken the devil’s weak attempt to bully us into a corner of despair and isolation, and used it to open our eyes to new possibilities of worshiping together AND innovating new ways to demonstrate the love of Christ to the world around us. Now, more than ever, we recognize that we are members of the body of Christ, united in love and in victory over evil. If one of us suffers, we all suffer. If one rejoices, we all rejoice. You are not alone. Not now. Not ever. And especially not in this season of second-day stillness. God is still very much at work on our behalf. Wait and see.
Looking for a livestream Easter service to join tomorrow? Here are a few recommendations:
- FBC Palmetto: https://www.fbcpalmetto.com/fbc-media/livestream.html
- Scott’s Hill Baptist: https://www.scottshill.org/live
- Bayside Community Church: https://online.mybayside.church/
Want an Easter-inspired music playlist to listen to for a few hours? Here you go:
Need some killer worship music to play all day long? Look no further:
Want to connect? Reach out anytime!