“Jesus, 33, son of Joseph and Mary, was crucified and died yesterday. Survived by mother Mary. Wandering prophet who proclaimed the Kingdom of God was near. Performed miracles. Challenged the status quo. Caused the leaders heartache.”
Even in our days, dying in one’s 30s is sad, but doesn’t have the same resonance as dying in one’s 20s or younger. There is something about age that leads us to directly evaluate a person’s death. If they lived to 90 or 100 or beyond, no one really questions it. As our modern lifespan increases, we may begin to push at that, but not by much.
By measurements such as children (Jesus had none), wealth (Jesus had none), or influence (he was crucified), Jesus was a failure. It’s jarring to think that way. We look beyond Good Friday and Holy Saturday. We know what is next.
In many respects, Holy Saturday is the hardest day of waiting in the Christian year. The tragedy and horror of Good Friday. The promise and glory of Resurrection Sunday. No one wants to sit in the in-between time and wait. On Holy Saturday, our lives are often filled with activity. It is a “standard” day off from the 5-day work week. It is also the day we prepare for Easter celebrations. We don’t wait very well.
Even the lectionary (the set of Scripture readings for each day) doesn’t wait very well. In there are 3 readings that were skipped as part of today’s devotional (1 Peter 4:1–8; Matthew 27:57–66; John 19:38–42) as there couldn’t “rest” between Good Friday and Easter when one includes them. In particular, is the shock, grieving, despair, and even the feeling of abandonment that is so central to Holy Saturday.
I wish that the Church (and even I) could treat Holy Saturday as a pre-Sabbath. Saturday for Jesus’ followers was a rest day, no matter how much they had to do to complete Jesus’ burial rites and process. Perhaps it may be time to have a 2-day Holy Day time, each with its own purpose.
The one unique part of Holy Saturday that I have personally continued to come back to is how much it resembles our lives right now. We have been saved and reconciled to God: Good Friday and Salvation (no matter when our salvation occurred). We are in a state of hopeful expectation: Easter, the return of the Messiah, our resurrection, and eternal life. Our lives, our very living, are between the two.
- We are all waiting for something in our lives, often in different aspects. What are you waiting for in regards to career, education, faith, family, or other areas?
- What your reflections on waiting? Are you good about waiting? What do you do with your waiting time?
O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.[Holy Saturday Collect, Book of Common Prayer 2019]