Easter Saturday is a liminal day.
Liminality is ‘is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage’ of a process of a ritual or of a process of change (Wikipedia). It is an in between state when all the certainties of what has gone before are gone, but what is going to replace them has not yet become clear. Liminal time is the time when you occupy a position at both sides of a boundary or threshold.
Liminal times are uncomfortable, uncertain and frightening.
Jesus embraced the ultimate experience of liminality. In accepting a journey leading to death he surrendered all of his potential for future ministry among people, all of the normal ways that anyone would assume that a human being, or even God, could influence people and make a difference in the world.
On Good Friday he said ‘it is finished’. Yet for all of Easter Saturday nothing happened. He had let go of the possibilities of all that he could have achieved if he had continued ministering. He had no influence or power over what would happen, apart from a trust in his Father to bring him through the experience of liminality to the new reality.
Easter Saturday was a day of liminality for the disciples. All of their hopes and dreams were shattered. All that they had committed, worked towards and sacrificed for was gone. And there was absolutely nothing they could do. They were on the threshold of the rest of their lives, and what was coming was far from clear. In fact their perspective on what was coming was quite hope-less.
We should not assume that the path through liminality was for Jesus alone. In fact it is the path we should expect to go on if we seek to follow him. It is the path through death and resurrection. It is a path that leads to our hopes, dreams and even faith dismantled, where we are left at the threshold not at all sure if there is a future. It is the point when we have done all that we can and there is nothing left to contribute. It is the point where only God can work.
The liminal space is:
…a unique spiritual position where human beings hate to be but where the biblical God is always leading them. It is when you have left the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are finally out of the way. It is when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer. If you are not trained in how to hold anxiety, how to live with ambiguity, how to entrust and wait, you will run…anything to flee this terrible cloud of unknowing. (Richard Rohr)
May any of you who are in this place on this Easter Saturday have the courage to live at the threshold until your resurrection come.