Holy Saturday, 2010
If you have ever experienced your faith as being absent, today is your day.
If you have ever experienced deep emptiness from your soul to your bones, today is your day.
If you have ever known loss that cannot be filled, today is your day.
If you have ever discovered, as C.S. Lewis did, that grief feels very much like fear, then this is your day.
If you have ever gone through the motions because you don't know what else to do, this is your day.
Holy Saturday is a day very easy to jump over. Today is a gorgeous spring day. People are out planting flowers and going to the store to buy for Easter dinner. Easter dresses are being tried on and egg hunts in the parks are happening as we speak. The world is busy and alive, and here we are in a darkened church before a bare cross and it feels empty.
This is the kind of emptiness that any who has grieved the death of a loved one knows. It is like going through the motions at work, and confronting that first thanksgiving or Christmas or birthday knowing that the one we love is dead.
I will bet that the followers of Jesus had the most somber, depressing Passover meal on record. But if they are at all like a lot of people I know, they will have done it. They will have read the words, and eaten the bitter herbs and the lamb, because...because what else could they do? Even if it was by rote, it was something. Something to anchor. Something to hold on to when there was nothing else.
Holy Saturday is a day of absence, emptiness and numbness. If you have ever felt this way, this day is for you.
The thing about Holy Saturday that is special is that it is the last day of the Old Creation. It's just that we don't know that yet. Just as we won't know that we have passed through the darkest moments of our grief until we suddenly find ourselves feeling again. We won't know until we look backwards.
And here is the dreadful and true part of Holy Saturday. There is nothing we can do about it. All we can do is what I've said: slog through, go through the motions. We steer into the wave and hope that our boat is not swamped as it crashes over our heads.
But the feast tells us that as we wait, as we slog through our fear and emptiness, Easter is coming. The disciples did not know that yet. We never know when we are in it. But Easter is coming.
Our creeds and tradition say this is the time when Christ descended into hell and went among the dead. Holy Saturday reminds us that even in the emptiness, Christ is there. If we go down to Sheol, and walk among the dead, Christ is there. There is no place where we can go to escape God's love. But we don't know that now. We will know that tomorrow.
In the meantime, this day is for you.