Today is Easter Saturday. Today is a time in-between the times, a space in no-space.
Easter Saturday is a liminal space. The word liminal comes from the Latin word līmen, which means “a threshold”. Technically, that is the place that marks off one space from another. Its origin was the strip of wood or stone at the bottom of a doorway, which was crossed in entering a house or room.
The thresh is the place where one treads as one enters a room. So the threshold, is where you put your foot as you walk into a new room or new place.
Anthropologists define liminality as “the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a ritual”. It is the moment when participants no longer hold their preritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete. During a rite’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold” between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which completing the rite establishes.
So Easter Saturday is a liminal space, a time in-between the times, a space in no-space, in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
What has gone before today?
Good Friday is a day of despair and darkness. It tells a story of death and burial. It gains its focus from the blows of the hammer, striking the nails, the stab of the spear, piercing the flesh, the silence of entombment, burying the body. We are consumed by the simmering emotions fuelled by the trauma, the disaster, the despair.
What will come after today?
Easter Sunday is a day of joy and light. It tells a story of new life and renewed hope. It begins quietly, in the gloom, at the empty tomb, but bursts forth into stories of amazed encounter, of recognising the stranger as the Lord, of sharing at table with the risen One. We will be swept up into the raging emotions of excitement and discovery, of hope-filled joy and all the best brought to fruition.
Yet this is all ahead of us. Today, we sit, in the quiet, in the shadows, in the time of waiting, of not knowing, of not seeing and not hearing … a time in-between the times, a space in no-space. There is nothing of significance that takes place today. The day is a void and empty, a day of non-meaning, of non-being.
We sit. We wait. We pray. We hope. In the silence, we sit with God. In the darkness, we sit with the empty tomb. On this Saturday, the day in between Friday and Sunday, we look back at what was lost … and we yearn for what is yet to be.