This evening I attended Dayspring's Good Friday service, which was actually the first I have ever experienced. The only thing significant about the Friday prior to Easter in the town I grew up in was that there was no longer basketball or football games to occupy your time, so you retreated to the television and T.G.I.F.
I wish I could say every part of the service moved me, but it didn't. We filed in, lit candles for what seemed like an eternity, and sang contemplative songs about death and read verses about the crucifixion and how there was nothing about Jesus that would make us esteem him in the least. I knew that is what it was supposed to be about, but I couldn't help but think how cool it would be to lean over to my neighbor and ask "You want me to tell you how this ends? It's good I'm telling you. Just wait until Sunday."
Yet for the first followers, there was no Sunday. Just Friday AND Saturday.
The Saturday part is actually what brought me to tears. As the story of the resurrection was retold in song and verse, and as the sun went down through the windows and the candles were extinguished and I realized we were commemorating Christ's death, the part in the service that reads on the paper "Exit in Silence" occurred, and I was shaken.
One by one people got out of their seats and, in silence walked away.
Jesus died and we walked away.
I feel this shocked me to the core because I don't have the idea of Sabbath embedded into the hardware of my mind. The original followers left to prepare for Sabbath-- Saturday.
How could they do this? How could they be so committed to these rituals that they would leave the body of the man who was their life for the previous three years, just so they could get ready for Sabbath.
I ponder this and I realize, they didn't know.
When Kyle died we became many things and one of them is this: We became a lingering people. In the emergency room and at the memorial service, at the funeral and at the gravesite, we all lingered around for long periods of time. Part of this was to be with each other and part of it was to find out information but I can't help but believe that part of the reason we lingered is this: At the very core of who we are as a people, as the global and local people of The Way, is the knowledge of resurrection.
That first group of Jesus' followers left because they thought that was all there is, so they may as well just return to life as usual. We know different and when someone we love dies we are in on the secret.
As emergent and postmodern and whatever I become, I will never give up on a belief in the resurrection. And, if I do, just count me out of the whole Christianity game altogether. There's no point in it. Without the resurrection I'll just try and make it to Saturday unscathed. I'll then deal with Sunday and Monday as they come.