Holy Saturday is the seventh and final day of Holy Week. It’s that weird day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday that we don’t know what to do with ourselves. Jesus’ body is in the garden tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, where he and Nicodemus had prepared the body with a mixture of myrrh and aloes, and wrapped it in strips of linen. Guards are posted in front of the tomb at the request of the chief priests and Pharisees, and a seal is placed on the stone. We can imagine that the disciples are paralyzed by both grief and fear over the events of the past week. It is only a matter of time until the powers of their age come for them, and the tortures will be as severe as those of their Lord. They have given their lives to a dead messiah – and yet his love, life, teaching, miracles, and promises have completely altered their souls. In bewilderment, they hide in silence – and they wait.
“Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:22
live between the times
THE NOW AND NOT YET
Is a tension we must embrace
Is there a gift that can only be found when our hope and reality are different?
In John 16:22, Jesus has given his disciples words that must have be-wildered them. “…Now is your time of grief,” he says, “but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” Later in John 16:33 he then adds these words, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Divine bewilderment is familiar to most of us. One moment, our world is pristine, full of possibilities, and marked by a sense of blessing and fulfillment. Then, suddenly, shadows fall. Night engulfs our brightest day in blackness and fear. We are bewildered, pierced by a great unknowing that causes us to question everything that came before this darkness, and everything that will come after.
This was the lot of the disciples on the Saturday after Good Friday. Knowing that the Jewish religious leaders were smelling blood, their loss of Jesus was compounded by their fear of every knock on the door. Just a week before, they had been revelling in the miracles of Jesus, winning a popularity con-test among crowds that were following them across the landscape of Israel.
Now, with the cheers and shouts of Palm Sunday still ringing in their ears, their popularity had fallen to the place of their Lord — they were only seen as worthy of a tortured death.
Into our bewildering world, the Kingdom of God enters with force. One minute a miracle occurs and a boy is healed of blindness. Yet, a minute later, we re-call that slave trafficking continues and young girls lose their innocence forever at the hands of lust-filled men.
The Kingdom of the now and the not yet means that we live out the truth of God’s saving love, even in the face of dire circumstances. We watch for God’s gifts along the way, the echoes of His presence that keep us centered in faith.
For Holy Saturday.
Lord, the tensions of this life can disillusion and paralyze me. Take the reins, and teach me to embrace your Kingdom life each day.
for Your Easter Reflection.
- What future does God have for us?