Sitting In Holy Saturday
This year has been difficult when it has come to my faith journey. I have been in a place of wilderness and wrestling about what being involved in Church will look like in the next couple of months. For the first time this year, I watched several services for Holy Week and I realized that I missed the Church in a weird way. Today in my meditation, I thought about Holy Saturday and my own sense of questions as I think about my own sense of grief and loss.
For many, Holy Saturday is about preparing for Easter. Setting out the clothes, getting your hair done, getting the final kinks out for service, or prepping the Easter meal. For many, Holy Saturday does not carry as much weight in our march towards Easter. We don’t think about it because we know how the story ends. We know that Christ is coming. We are wrapped up in preparing to celebrate victory over death, guilt, and shame. We can ignore today because tomorrow, the stone has rolled away and the God’s perfect plan has been revealed.
But I am reminded that for his followers, today is a day of fear. Empire has won. The tomb was sealed and their Savior was dead. For them, it was a day of questioning. A day where they had to come to grips with the fact that the Messiah (as many hoped and prayed Jesus would be) was indeed gone. I imagine Peter sitting with the weight of his denial on today. I imagine the disciples learned of dear Judas’ fate in the small home where they hid. I imagine the anger and guilt that cloaked the room. I imagined a grieving Mary, sitting with all that she witnessed.
And I imagine the questions … all the questions that God hear as the people prayed and cried and mourned. I imagine the people but I also imagine God.
Was God angry about how the people treated their beloved Son? Did God watch as Jesus descended into Hell? Was the prayers and cries of the people overwhelming because they could not see what God was up to? Was God frustrated? Did God consider calling the whole plan off because as always, God’s creation’s fear and the idolatry of their own imagination could not see what God was doing?
On Holy Saturday, I hold in tension the real fear of the people and the real frustration with God. Even now, we often are blinded by the death of our dreams and visions of freedom. Even though we know how the Story ends, we, who believe in justice, freedom, and love, sit in Holy Saturday. We still continue to question and wrestle when our visions of grandeur die. We continue to grieve and mourn and we continue to question God. We hide in fear and disappointment. Some of us discard all that we believed and held dear. Because our hope bursted into flames.
On Holy Saturday, we are invited to sit in the ashes and embers of our faith and imagination. We are forced to renegotiate our dream. We are invited into fear and we are invited to wrestled, even if it is with God.
Because despite their frustrations, God is still big enough to hold our grief, to hold our fear, and the wrestle with our imaginations. God hears us. God grieves alongside us. God hold us and still shows us resurrection.
The tension of Holy Saturday is that there was no spoiler alert in the midst of the disciples’ grief. The spices were still being prepared. The disciples were still in hiding. They were actively preparing Jesus’ funeral. They had no idea what came next. They sat and questioned everything they heard, everything they saw. They sat in the rubles of their faith. How easy would it have been if God would have sent an angel on Saturday and gave them the heads up? How easy would have it been for God to tell everyone off and not allow the tension of the “three days”? And yet, God allowed them to sit in the space, even as the battle of life and death wrestled in the tomb. God listened to their complaints and anger and hurt. God heard everything, even as God’s plan was being dispatched to save them from themselves.
I cannot say that I fully understand why God didn’t relieve their suffering. I don’t know why God allowed them to sit in their pain for so long. All I know is that because God granted them grace to sit in their disruption, we have grace to sit in ours. Even when we forget how the story ends … even when we miss the lessons or waver in our faith. Holy Saturday reminds us that God holds it and wrestles with us too.