Holy Saturday. Is there such a thing? Good Friday has come and gone. Jesus was arrested, tired, crucified, has died and is buried. Easter Sunday is a whole day away. So where does that leave us on the Saturday of Holy week? Is there such a thing as Holy Saturday? Or should we just skip over this day entirely and go about our normal lives until Sunday?
Many would do so. I am sure many people go to a Good Friday service and are reminded of the sacrifice of Jesus. Likewise I am sure many people attend a Easter service to celebrate Jesus’ defeat of death. But what about Saturday? There are few services to attend, and no obvious action of Jesus to mediate on; is today just a day to ignore?
You could, but if do you’ll miss a lot.
Let’s put ourselves into the sandals of the first disciples, on that first Holy Saturday. What are they doing?
Before I tell you that, first let me tell you what they are not doing.
They are not holding any candlelight prayer vigils. As far as they know they have nothing left to watch over. Their master and teacher is dead and buried. A guarded sealed grave reminds them of that. They also are not telling each other that everything will be alright, reminding each other that this was all part of the plan. Because this was not part of their plans. Their plans required Jesus to be very much alive.
No on that first Holy Saturday there was no hope, no comfort, and no sense that anything would get better. As the shock and numbness of Friday begin dissipate the pain and sorrow of Saturday began to set in. On that first Holy Saturday those who had followed Jesus were simply wondering ‘now what’?
Matthew may have wondered if it was too late to get back into the tax business, Peter and the boys may have been thinking about the up and coming fishing season. Or maybe the only thing they could think was; are we going to get out of this alive?
Fear, doubt, anger, sadness filled the disciples hearts and minds. Given all this one would be hard pressed to call this day Holy.
Yet it is and it is a wonderful day to reflect on.
I think we have all found our way to Saturday moments like this. Moments when we realize everything we counted on, everything we dreamed about everything we hoped for has crumbled. Moments when the heavens are silent, our enemies are celebrating, and the whole word just seems dark and cold.
What do we do on such Saturdays, or Saturmonths, or Saturyears, or Saturlifetimes? The disciples had no idea that by days end on Sunday most of them would see Jesus alive again. They had no idea that their sadness was about to be overturned.
This is something that can give us courage and strength. Because likewise we do not know when Sunday will dawn and our Saturday will end. Maybe we just have to hang in for a few more days. Or maybe we have to hang in for the rest of our lives. Either way the promise of God is the same, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’
Please don’t think that I am making light of your pain. I am not. I don’t pretend to know what hurts you carry or for how long you have had to carry them. All I know is you will not have to carry them for eternity.
On that first Holy Saturday God appeared silent, and Jesus appeared defeated. But it only appeared to be that way. Much was happening behind the scenes. Right now as we each carry our own hurts and scars we can take comfort in knowing that much is happening behind the scenes.
Even though it is Saturday now, Sunday is on the way.