There is so much to be thankful for as I reflect on what God did among us this last weekend. We hosted over 1300 adults and many children too, from Wednesday night to Sunday. There were some glorious baptisms, ten churches united in prayer, an amazing 'taste experience' of the Gospel that led to a profound worship response, and many visitors encountering the grace of God for the first time. So much to be thankful for, and much new life to be nurtured.
Of course, with thankful hearts we also find ourselves asking,"How could we do it better next time around?" And more importantly, "What now?"
What does it mean to live in what we have preached and celebrated? How does the life of Christ invade our lives, and quicken our bodies in real ways?
On Friday night while standing at the back of our auditorium, waiting for our Good Friday meeting to begin, I had a short but profound conversation with a friend of mine. He is an ardent Christ follower, going through a trying time in his job. He said, "I love the reminder of the death of Christ today, and His resurrection on Sunday. But I feel like I am living on Saturday."
His life isn't terrible. It's just tough because it seems full of hope and potential still buried in the ground. He is surrounded by 'death' all day and is looking for ways to bring Christ's life in that place, but is finding it a draining ordeal. He is not satisfied. He longs and hopes for more.
Many live in this place. We encounter God in the justifying and reconciling work of the cross. We have accepted by faith that sin and death have been conquered in the empty tomb. But we feel somehow in limbo. A hopeful limbo,no doubt, but one which longs for more. We have the future hope of life after death, but endure present sufferings, yearning for more evidence of his resurrection power with us now.
I believe that the 'Saturday' longing is a constant condition of the Christ-follower. We are never longing-free. Even when we have amazing success, there is always some area of life that is undone. Paul affirms this. "Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory to that will be revealed to us... we groan inwardly as we eagerly await our redemption."
Essentially he calls us as Christians to expect glimpses of Sunday in the middle of Saturday. "The Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead lives in you and will quicken your mortal bodies. The Spirit intercedes for us in our weakness, with groans too deep to express." (Romans 8 excerpts)
None of us are immune from Saturday. But none of us are powerless either. We have access to Sunday's power while we live in Saturday. "Thanks be to God who gives us new birth into a living hope through His resurrection power."