Saturday, April 11, 2009

Holy Saturday

The day between Good Friday and Easter does not get much attention. Seemingly, nothing happens. The gospel texts lay Jesus in the tomb before the sundown beginning the sabbath. And then, nothing until morning of the following day.

Tradition has filled in the gap, having Jesus descend to the dead, breaking open the gates of hell, and bringing his resurrection to the righteous dead of earlier generations.

It is also a day for churches to be busy with preparations for the Resurrection celebration of the vigil service or Sunday morning.

But that day after his death, Holy Saturday, deserves its own place. It is a time where one thing has ended, and the new thing that is to follow is not yet visible. "A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how" [Mark 4:26b-27]. Buried in the earth, out of sight, under the radar a holy mystery is taking place.

In the "real world," his followers are observing the sabbath and passover. They are hiding from the authorities. They are disturbed and what has happened, the way their teacher and friend is gone, the way their plans and hopes have died. Some are distraught, some are guilty, some are trying to figure out how to rebound - or put this behind. The God who did not answer Jesus' cry - "My God, why have you forsaken me" - is no more visible this day.

Yet God's presence is as hard to fathom this day as it was yesterday, and God's story is not done. Somewhere, deep in the tomb's darkness, the faithfulness of God is undimmed.


Photos: RazorCD, Extinguished candle (detail) and Dr. Alzheimer's Photo Blog, Kerze.
 

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