It’s Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter and quite possibly the most under appreciated day of Holy Week. The lifeless body of Jesus lies in a dark, borrowed tomb, and the grieving disciples try to come to grips with the events of the last 24 hours. Nothing of great significance happens on this particular Saturday. Friday, yes. Sunday, yes. Saturday, no. Hence, why it’s often describe as silent. Having said that, I think it has the real potential to be of great significance and comfort to us. It’s the in-between day, and so much of our lives is lived in-between, as we await the final day when the risen and reigning Christ will return and make all things new.
Silent Saturday is for the grieving, who await the day when, at last, they’ll be reunited with that loved one who has gone ahead. In the in-between time, they mourn and are reminded regularly of the loved one’s absence. There’s an empty seat at the table. There are fading memories of the person’s voice. There are fond memories of laughter mixed with very present tears. Silent Saturday is for the grieving parent who, like Mary, has lost a child. It’s for the grieving friend who, like the disciples, has lost a dear companion. It’s for any and all who long to be reunited with those to whom they’ve had to say a final goodbye.
Silent Saturday is for those who have received a cancer diagnosis and are trying to come to terms with what the future may hold. The in-between time is an uncertain time.
Silent Saturday is for those whose dreams have been dashed against the rocks. It’s for all those who are uncertain of hope, who don’t know if they’ll ever be able to dream again. It’s for those whose lives have fallen apart, who don’t know how to rebuild or where to begin again.
Silent Saturday is for those who, like Jesus, have suffered deeply at the hands of others, who don’t know if they’ll ever be whole again, who wish it would’ve never happened and who grieve the fact that we live in a world where it still happens, every day. These live in the heartache of the in-between.
Silent Saturday is for those who desperately want to understand what God is doing in a particular situation, who desperately want to believe that he is up to all kinds of good, even though it feels very much like he’s left you for dead.
Silent Saturday is for the confused and overwhelmed, who are trying to make sense of a trauma that just doesn’t make sense. How could Jesus, who had proven himself time and time again through such unforgettable displays of messianic authority, be dead? I’m sure Saturday was, for the disciples, a day of utter confusion.
Silent Saturday is for all those who have ever asked the question, How could this happen? It’s for those who have more questions than answers, who try to pray but simply sob, who cannot find the words. It’s for the disciples who feel the incompleteness of the in-between.
Silent Saturday is for all those who are waiting, waiting for the Lord to answer a prayer they feel like they’ve prayed a thousand times. It’s for those who feel as if their prayers hit the ceiling and all they receive from heaven, in response, is silence. It’s for those who have experienced a death and are waiting, hoping, longing, asking for new life.
Silent Saturday is for all those who wrestle with fear. I can only imagine the fear the disciples felt as they huddled in hiding hoping that those who crucified Jesus would not come looking for them. Little could they have fathomed the courage they would display, on behalf of Jesus, in the coming months and years.
Silent Saturday is for all those who groan under the weight of their own sin, who feel like they know more defeat than victory in the battle against sin, who long for the day when they will be completely and totally free from sin’s influence. It’s for those who have to ask forgiveness for the same sin a thousand times and wonder often if freedom will ever come. These live in-between.
Silent Saturday is for those, like the apostle Peter, who have failed the Lord Jesus. Can you imagine the grief and regret he endured on Saturday? Can you imagine how many times he heard the rooster crow in his own mind, how many times he relived his repeated denials of the One to whom he had pledged undying allegiance. It’s a day for those who feel as if they’ve fallen too far for the Lord Jesus to forgive them. Little did Peter understand the grace of his Savior and so often so little do we.
Silent Saturday is for all those who groan under the weight of the world’s pain, who feel like every sunrise brings with it new tragedies. It’s for all those who watch the news and wonder when it will all end, whose constant, silent, ache is summed up in the words, “Come, Lord Jesus.” These sigh with sorrow in-between.
Silent Saturday is for the disciples of Jesus whose bodies are failing them, who remember what it was like to be healthy and strong and who long for that kind of vigor again. It’s for those who struggle with daily chronic pain and who desire to be liberated from the ever-present reminder and into a body that doesn’t hurt. These live in-between.
Holy Saturday extends to each of us a deep hope, the reminder that we live everyday of our lives in the in-between, suffering, struggling, questioning, grieving, doubting, and longing for the day when all of it will be in the past. On this particular Saturday, the disciples wait, though they do not know for what. Little do they know that Sunday morning with bring with it a new creation breaking forth in the midst of the old. Little do they realize, in the midst of their hopelessness, that hope will rise again. Thankfully, unlike them, we who belong to the risen and reigning Christ, know the rest of the story. It’s Saturday, but Sunday is coming. It’s Saturday, the day for aching, for groaning, and for mourning. But Sunday. Is. Coming. Death will be swallowed up by life. Darkness will be drowned and destroyed by light. Seemingly certain defeat will give way to glorious victory. Tears of grief will give way to tears of uncontainable joy. And Jesus, the one who was crucified will rise never to die again. In the middle of the muck and the mess of the in-between he is our anchor and our anticipation.