For us, it's The Day Before. We'll spend the day on an Easter egg hunt at church, dyeing eggs at home, pulling out pastel-colored clothes and baskets, awaiting spiral hams and chocolate bunnies. For them, it was the day after.
When the disciples ran, where did they go? As I imagine it, they all, men and women, eventually made it back to the upper room. It was a kind of safehouse to begin with, thus the sign of the tethered donkey. Now it was not Jesus who was on the run, but his followers. Jesus was dead.
As far as anyone knew -- despite what they had been told they might expect on the third day -- this was their new reality. Jesus, their friend and leader, was dead. They were all in grief. The men were probably wanted as co-conspiritors. And it was the sabbath. They were not going to travel. What did they do?
My mother died in the middle of the night. We were at the hospital. Afterward, we gathered at my tiny, rented house, where my grandmother, husband, and small children were sleeping. In a stupor of disbelief and helplessness, we spent hours sitting on the floor. We cried and were numb. We talked and didn't talk. I don't remember what we said, but I remember very well sitting on the floor until the sun came up, not having a clue as to what else to do that night or any day or night that was to come. I image that the disciples felt something like that.
I imagine them sitting on the floor, crying and numb, talking and silent. I imagine the stupor of disbelief and helplessness. I imagine the fear that there would be a knock at the door and some soldier would want to take them away and crucify them too. I imagine Mary the mother of Jesus praying. I imagine some other Mary offering food which nobody wanted to eat.
And where was Peter?
I imagine Peter, in his shame, somewhere else, God knows where. The others would be worried that he had been arrested too. Finally he would come back, knock at the door, frighten everyone half-to-death, but then, by his presence, fill them with relief for a moment before the dark truth of their reality seeped back in.
Some of the women would do what women do and get busy with the business of living and dying, in this instance, with planning for the proper burial that was to come. They would find a way to gather the spices. They would make it a king's burial, as Jesus deserved. Such preparations would give them a sense of purpose. They would be ready to rise before dawn to be at the tomb as early as they could.
Eventually, although it was day, we all went to bed and slept a little. Then the children, not-yet-three and not-yet-one woke, hungry. Life moves on regardless of our grief. The day dawns, the children need feeding, arrangements have to be made. It seems as though no tomorrow worth living is going to come around again.