Psalm 31 • Job 14:1-14 • 1 Peter 4:1-8 • John 19:38-42
The celebration of Palm Sunday is long gone. The bittersweet sharing in breaking of bread and drinking of wine has passed. The intimacy of foot washing has faded. The agony of the Garden and the desolation of betrayal linger in memory. The last breath is no more. The torturous death on Golgotha is over. The weight of dying has been released. The lifeless body lies in the tomb. Quiet descends with the sun.
In the stillness God is, but God is not still. God has descended to the grave, trampling down death by death. As day dawns, the quiet breaks, first with a few sounds, then crescendoing as the sun rises into yet another day. But it is not any other day. It is Sabbath, a day of being, a day of being holy on the holy day. It is a day to be centered in the mystery of God’s holiness even in the face of death. And God in God’s holiness is not still. Out of human sight, from Sabbath sunset to sunset, on this particular Sabbath, God who is love and life continues to love and live not overcome by death. God stirs in the depths and heights of existence, and this is particularly true on Holy Saturday.
Unlike the original disciples long ago, for those of us who live after Christ’s resurrection from the dead, Holy Saturday has its unique arc. It is a day that begins in the quiet wake of the crucifixion but becomes increasingly marked by a growing restlessness for the proclamation of the good news of resurrection at the Easter Vigil and on Easter Day. This day is a “time between”—between the intensification of events that led to Christ’s atoning death on Good Friday and the exuberant celebration that will erupt over his resurrection. On this day, in this “time between,” we would do well to take a deep breath and embrace the words of Psalm 31: “let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.”
― The Rev. Heather Warren