On the seventh day God rested
The day kind of has that formless and void feeling. Our Jesus still sleeps in death. Keep the doors locked for fear of the Jews. Normally it’s get back to work day. Yesterday, the Sabbath, we rested. Today, we get back onto the horse. But why? Jesus is dead. Everything feels formless and void. It’s as if God went back to the beginning, back to the drawing board. There’s nothing. We need some of that marvelous creating work again.
Going back to the beginning would be great. When there was only God and everything was good. God spoke and it was. And it was good. Not just good, but very good. The best. Even when it was formless and void, a place without order, still, it was good, because there was God, and no sin. No death. Unlike today. Today feels formless and void, empty, a wasteland. And it’s not very good. It’s bad. Very bad. Oh sorrow dread, Christ is dead.
Sure, there was darkness in the beginning too, but the Spirit hovered over the waters. The darkness now seems so Spirit-less. The darkness of the cross. The darkness of the worst Sabbath day ever. A darkness in our hearts. A darkness that won’t ever lift. Thomas won’t even stay with the rest of us; he’s so fed up about everything.
We need that Spirit hovering over us. We need that Word of God bringing light, bringing “very good.” But God is gone. It’s only darkness now; and death. His death; soon ours. Oh sorrow dread, God is dead.
What a thought. God gone. All around: darkness. Formless. Void. A waste. No God. No Spirit. Nothing hovering. Nothing working. Why’d I waste my time? What did I believe in? He’s just another in a long line of them. Teachers. Mystics. Rabbis. Martyrs. A futile gesture on his part; futile faith on ours. Nothing’s different. Nothing’s better. Sin reigns. Death comes. He’s dead.
Except our women say he’s not. But they’re crazy. Except Peter and John say he’s not. They say the tomb is empty. Except Mary says he’s not. Mary comes bursting in, not that Mary, the other one, the Magdalene, and she speaks impossibilities: “I saw him!” “I touched him!” “He called me by name.” Is something bubbling and gurgling in that formlessness and void?
It took the LORD God six days to make all that something out of nothing. Light. Day and night. The dry land. The seas. The skies. The planets. The animals. Man. It hasn’t been six days, only three, but Mary says God’s been busy, creating, recreating, calling things that are not as though they are. Mary says that the Spirit has resumed his hovering. All those evenings and mornings God spoke and it was: light, heat, water, life!
Could it be that God has finished his work? At the end of the six days he rested from his labors. He saw that all was very good, exactly as it was to be, and he rested. He made the seventh day holy, set apart. Rest. Could that be all that Jesus was doing? Resting. Sabbathing. In the tomb. On the cross, he did talk about being in paradise and how “it is finished.”
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. All of it. Every bit of it. Nothing not good. The Spirit hovered. That divine “us” created everything and man last, in God’s image, in God’s likeness. And it wasn’t sort of good or mostly good. It was very good. So good, that God could rest. Could it be the same now? Isn’t God always the same? Yesterday, today, forever? Is this the new day, the eighth day, the day after the rest, the day when God looks upon what He made, looks upon what was once in his image and likeness and says, “Let it be so again”? It would take God to do that, to form that, to make this, this very good again. God would have to act and work to do it, to restore what Adam and Eve broke, what the devil stole from us, that image, that paradise, lost. To fix a corrupted earth, to free us and all creation from bondage. From sin. From death. Was that what happened when God died – a kernel of wheat dying so that it could produce many seeds, and now he’s resting from all his labors? And if he’s risen, then that means there’s nothing left to do. He’s done it all, and it is very good.
That means this is the day. God took all that formless and void and formed it once, formed it into “very good,” into paradise, into man in his image and his likeness; now he does it again. This is the day when God drives away darkness, when God restores innocence: God reconciles man to himself again! God crushes Satan and sin and death and hell.
Oh, to hear that from his own lips. To hear peace, t’ov maod, very good. To hear that bad and corrupt and mortal, perishable and very bad can be very good, incorrupt, immortal, imperishable. That God declares it so! To hear that we will not die, but live. To see God with my own eyes and to see that he is satisfied, that it is finished, that it is done and that he has done it. Oh, that I could see that, that only the dead can be resurrected, only formless and void can be made “very good.” And that God did that.
There was evening. Then morning. Then evening again. Now morning. Slowly fading into evening. The doors are locked. And he comes. Him. God. Jesus. And he says, “Peace. Have my Spirit. Have peace.” The Spirit hovers again. He says everything I need to hear: “I am the resurrection and the life. I live, and in me, you live. You will not die, but sleep, and sleeping awaken in my Father’s house. I have removed death’s sting. God has never left you; he will never leave you. I am here.” He shows us the wounds. He shows us his body. He shows us God in the flesh. And it is very good. He looks very good. He’s rested. And it’s not dark anymore. It’s a new day: the eighth day. And there is light. And we are awake. With him. For Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.