"Not yet." Those two small words can create great frustration when they are the answer to a question being asked.
Is it time? Can we go? Are we there? Not yet. Not yet. Not yet. "Not yet" means that whatever is coming, or whatever is going to happen, will happen. It just hasn't happened......yet. "Not yet" tells us to hold on and be patient and to wait expectantly for the right time.
Not yet is where we are as people of faith on this Good Friday. This is the day that we hear the echo of Jesus' words before his death, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit" (Luke 23:46). This is the day we remember that Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus' body, wrapped it as was the custom of the day, and laid the lifeless body in a tomb. This is the day that the world went dark.
The tricky part for us is that we know what comes at the end of the story, and we are tempted to hurry to Sunday. But, it's not time.....not yet. Good Friday and Holy Saturday are important, and though it is tempting to skip right to the celebration of Jesus' resurrection, the truth is that we need to wait in the uncomfortable darkness of these days. We need to remember that God loved the world enough to send Jesus; that God loves us enough to care about the dark places of our lives; and we need to remember that not yet doesn't last forever.
There is a phrase in Luke's gospel that recently caught my attention and offers some insight into Joseph of Arimathea. Luke tells us that "he was waiting expectantly for the Kingdom of God" (Luke 23:51). John's gospel describes Joseph as a disciple of Jesus, "though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews" (John 19:38). We can assume that as a disciple of Jesus, Joseph had heard him teach about the Kingdom of God and that it was not a far-off, "someday" kind of place. The Kingdom was here and now, and all were invited to enter. Perhaps Joseph had believed that, in Jesus, the Kingdom had indeed come. But, as he tended to Jesus' body, did he wonder if there was more waiting to be done? Had this all been a not yet?
We know that Sunday is coming, and that the wait is worth it. We know that Jesus will....
We will see you on Sunday when the waiting will be over. Until then, I wait with you expectantly...