One of the things that has always been an interesting fact for me is the fact that the darkest hour is the hour before dawn. I remember this very well from my days of working in a grocery store before my ordination. When I first worked in the grocery store, there were nights when I would work the “graveyard shift”—midnight until 8:00 am. At the time in the grocery store, we would keep boxes at the store front for people to place their groceries in from stocking the shelves. We would place them at the front of the store around 5:00 am and it would be very dark, but then, all of a sudden, the next time looking out the window it would be light.
For the Christian Church, the darkest time of our faith is Holy Saturday. Death comes to us on Good Friday. Life comes to us on Sunday at the time of resurrection. Inbetween those there is the darkness of Saturday. In order to appreciate the brightness of Easter, we need to be aware of the darkness of Saturday. It is in the darkness we are to be Christ-like: we are called to rest. We believe through the auspices of scripture, reason, and tradition that Christ in this time of darkness (at the time) wrestled with the Evil One to overcome the powers of sin and death.
There are times in life when we have our Good Friday Moments. There are times in life when we have our Easter Moments. In order to be fully aware of when we have those respective moments, we need to have our Saturday Moments too. Saturday Moments are indeed dark—they are very dark. They are dark because this is the time before we see the brightest light of all—the light of Resurrection. The words of the Exultet remind us of this:
This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave. […] The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy.
As we move in this Easter Season, know that the darkness does not and will not last long. Know that in the darkness, light is coming. Once we become aware of God’s loving presence in the light of Jesus, the one who died and now lives, words cannot and will not be able to express the love and joy which we experience. It is in that moment that the darkness does indeed turn to light, and that light is God’s finest gift of love for each and every single one of us. Alleluia!