Saturday, 30 March 2013

Holy Saturday (Easter Eve)

The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is different from the rest of Holy Week. It feels like a day when everything should stop, an in-between time to be still and wait. In practice I've often found this one of the busiest of the year - a day to travel, to shop, to clean, to prepare food for tomorrow's celebrations. There are so many ordinary things to get on with.

Churches often feel this tension. There's a contradiction between attempting to enter into the numbness, fear or despair Jesus' friends felt the day after his crucifixion and burial, while also being busy preparing Easter decorations to celebrate resurrection. There's nothing wrong with celebrating Christ's resurrection on any day of the year. But on this day it seems right to pause, imagine what it was like for those first disciples who, in spite of what Jesus had told them, really didn't expect Jesus to rise from the dead. As many feel after a death of someone close, or during a crisis of faith, their hope had died. 

A couple of years ago a Holy Saturday Reflection at Sandalstraps' Sanctuary expressed this theme well. Here's some of it:
"Holy Saturday, for me, crystalises this life, lived as it is somewhere between the fear of death and the hope of resurrection. The God who was near, is now far; the God who was alive is now dead and buried, and may never have been God at all. Easter is coming, but how would we know, how would we dare to hope? 
Holy Saturday is a day for doubt, for who, on it, could help but doubt, save those without enough faith to even bother to doubt? 
Doubt is not the absence of faith. Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Doubt is wrestling with faith, like Jacob wrestling with the stranger, like Jesus forsaken and alone, like Mary and Martha, mourning instead of rejoicing, that the stone had been rolled away. 
But today the stone sits, both guarding and hiding the tomb of Jesus, eclipsing all hope, giving no reason for us to suspect it might move, save for by another cruel trick of a world that snuffed out the only hope we ever dared to have. Today we hide. Today we cower. Today we deny we ever had faith, ever had hope, ever had love. for today it seems better to have never been touched by the God who is dead than to have our God lay silent in a tomb, never having been God at all."
I think it is often those who have gone through such darkness and sorrow who most appreciate the light and joy to come in the morning. What do you think?

You can find other reflections for Holy Saturday here:

Emptiness and Sorrow

Easter Eve Meditation

Dead and Buried




2 comments:

  1. I agree, Nancy. Those who have lost can recognise loss more easily in others. thank you for this.

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    Replies
    1. I find the Easter season, starting in a few hours time, becomes so much more meaningful after at least imaginatively and having gone through Good Friday and the emptiness of the following day.

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