On Holy Saturday
Updated: May 5
I love Holy Saturday. I always find Maundy Thursday and Good Friday so draining – I really get into them and it takes it out of me, I can tell you. But Holy Saturday? It's so peaceful. Holy Saturday of the Lord's Rest: in both the words “holy” and “rest” you have the perfect combination.
I love the way that – even though it is supposed to be a sombre day, it seems like the day just doesn't have the strength to sustain that sombreness. It can't help it, can't help but point to the next day when everything will be different. Holy Saturday is powerless in the face of Easter Sunday, who will burst out of the wings like a scene-stealing actor and almost make us forget everything that's come before. Almost.
Yes, there's something adorable about Holy Saturday. I know that the iconography of the day is rather serious theological stuff: Jesus going down to hell and grabbing people by the hand. But I cant help it – I'm already beginning to feel lighthearted – no small feat in a world filled with as much sickness and suffering as there is in ours at the present.
The other image from this day that makes me smile? Good old Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, bumbling around at night like a Biblical Laurel and Hardy. If they had just waited a couple of days, they could have saved themselves a whole lot of shekels, what with the cost of the tomb and the hundred pounds of aloes and myrrhs. I've got a dear friend who is one of Chicago's finest funeral directors; I must ask him if he'd have given them their money back, since the dead person finishes the story being most decidedly not dead.
Whether we're sombre and reflective, thinking about Jesus pulling those people out of hell, or whether we can't help ourselves and are already mentally jumping ahead to that empty tomb, I hope that we all can rest today and prepare our hearts for what is to come.
It won't be long now.