The day between Good Friday and Easter is a day that nobody talks about much. The Gospel of Mark that so carefully chronicles each day of the last week of Jesus’ life, says nothing about Saturday.
Yet we all know what the emptiness of what is called “Holy Saturday” is about. All of us have experienced times like this day is all about – times of overwhelming loss when life as we know it changes and all hope dies in mid-flight. Times when it seems that nothing of God, nothing of Hope and Life is happening.
“The importance of Holy Saturday likes in its power to bring us to the kind of faith that the spiritual masters call ‘mature’. Holy Saturday faith is not about counting our blessings. It is about dealing with darkness and growing in hope.” (The Liturgical Year, Joan Chittister, p. 153)
I have taken my Holy Saturday question this year from Benedictine sister Joan Chittister:
“Do we believe that the tombs of our lives are all gateways to resurrection?”
That’s the kind of faith that none of us comes to without much longing and without much doubt that it could possibly be true.
The Apostle’s Creed speaks of Holy Saturday: (Jesus) was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell.” For centuries, the church has argued about what this testimony of faith is about.
I am moved by how the Eastern Orthodox church depicts Holy Saturday, and Jesus’ descent into the place of death. In this fresco from the Chora Monastery in Istanbul, Jesus is depicted on Holy Saturday taking Adam and Eve by the wrist and pulling them out of their graves even before he rises from his own.
Jesus has got them both – in all of their beauty and uniqueness.
He also has them both in all of their shame, fear, grief.
And if he’s got them, well, maybe he’s got us all.
What if today we dared to believe that it might be true? That what is in us that seems beyond all help and hope finally is not. That the tombs we have made of our lives and world, are not the end of the story. That even today, when it seems nothing is happening, God is at work still.
What if we lived as if it were true, that all of the tombs of our lives are indeed pathways to resurrection? And that in the fullness of time, “the one whose tomb was empty, will one day empty our own”. (In Search of Belief, Joan Chittister, p. 128)