The day between the crucifixion and the resurrection

11.14, Saturday 11 Apr 2020

I always notice the Saturday before Easter: this bit between the crucifixion and resurrection is the best. it’s like god’s out of town for the weekend, no one’s watching, house party!

I’m not religious. I went to a Church of England school and grew up with a half dozen different faiths within touching distance. I’m not athiest, I suppose I don’t believe in God, I don’t think about it too much. I’m closest to being a phenomenologist in that I privilege perspective, so I’m quite happy to consult the I Ching because it seems to say things to me (I don’t feel the need to question it or believe in it), and I don’t like to needlessly multiple unnecessary entities.


although I joke about it, the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, Holy Saturday, seems to carry some mythic resonance.

No God, just for one day. That feels like a day worth marking?

Nobody watching, nobody who always knows more than you, but also no-one to forgive, to catch you when you trip, to provide meaning when things are bad. Nobody who knows how the story ends.

What do you do when you’re on your own? When you can do anything, but… well, you don’t, and not because God or your parents or the government says not to, but because you make that decision yourself. Or when there’s a global pandemic and you can’t say “God’s will” but you have to look it in the eye.

It’s the day after school ends. It’s the day you move out and have keys to your own place for the first time, and you shut and lock the door. You’ve gone to bed and there’s a noise and you have to investigate. It’s screwing up and it’s your fault. It’s taking a trip and going on a long hike and realising that nobody knows where you are. Dan Hon has this line, No-one’s coming. It’s up to us.

It’s losing a parent. It’s also the feeling I remember on the first evening having brought the baby back from hospital.

It’s the excitement of freedom, and the responsibility, and the terror. It’s sink or swim day. It’s adulthood. (It’s the relief of knowing it’s just for one day, and the gratitude it renews.)

Sometimes I think that this is what humankind needs to stand on its own two feet: it should be the Saturday before Easter when our city-sized starships take off from Earth for the last time into the clear blue sky, off to inhabit the galaxy.

There’s no deus ex machina. The climate emergency will kill us all unless we do something about it.

So the absence of God, for one day, isn’t just about the freedom of nobody watching, it’s also about stepping up to the plate. And it isn’t about each of us being on our own, because when push comes to shove, we can’t look up so we look around, and we’ve got each other.

(Of course, this day being part of the Christian calendar, I wonder whether this is all part of the lesson.)

And that’s what I think about on the day between the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ.

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