Welcome to one of the darkest days of the whole year— for Christians that is—the day we wait with Jesus in the tomb.
It’s the day that no one visited the tomb of Jesus.
It’s the day when nothing happened in the gospel narrative.
It’s the day that can be summarized in one word: silence.
As if Jesus’ cries from the cross of “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” were not hard enough to bear yesterday, today we sit with the reality of our Lord’s death.
And the fact that God’s son wasn’t exempt from heart stopping suffering.
Even Jesus once died.
But, in most of our traditions, we have little room for Holy Saturday theology.
Though our Anglican friends often host Easter Vigils—the rest of us have no clue as to why we’d want to go to church on Thursday, Friday AND Saturday too. What really changes from Friday to Saturday after all?
Isn’t the Saturday before Easter all about egg hunts, food preparation and shopping for new Sunday shoes? (well maybe not shopping for shoes this year)
Not that there is anything wrong with these things (and I’m going to be making some deviled eggs today myself). But I believe if we have our eyes already so set on Sunday, we miss out on a important part of who we are as followers of Jesus.
Again, even Jesus died. Part of what it means to be human is suffering and death.
Throughout our lives we will ALL face suffering that is so painful that we think it might kill us and then one day it actually will.
And if you’ve ever gotten to the point when the dreams you once hung your future upon are no more, you know Holy Saturday.
If you’ve ever woke up one morning to find that your child, your spouse or your best friend to whom your life was deeply connected was gone, you know Holy Saturday.
If you’ve ever wagered all your hope on one event going just as planned, only to find it blowing up in utter disaster, you know Holy Saturday.
Holy Saturday is accepting death.
Holy Saturday is embracing grief.
Holy Saturday is most of all — surrender.
Pope Benedict XVI once said: “To be sure, it was not Easter Sunday but Holy Saturday, but, the more I reflect on it, the more this seems to be fitting for the nature of our human life: we are still awaiting Easter; we are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust.”
So, my word for this Holy Saturday is…stand here.
Take in this day. Breathe in, breathe out.
And let us wait for Easter together—both on its date on the calendar to come tomorrow and all the resurrection moments to come.
Some of us are going to be in Holy Saturday for much longer than just one day. . .