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The Saturday in Easter Weekend is one of the most peculiar days in the Bible and in the Christian Calendar. There has been a huge and distressing build-up to Good Friday. And then tomorrow, Easter Sunday, is a huge celebration of life over death. But the day in between seems to be a non-day. A day on which time is suspended and the universe holds its breath. Even the Gospel stories are almost entirely silent on this day:
- John entirely skips the Saturday Sabbath, making no reference to it at all.
- Luke tells us that the women “went home and … rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.”
- Mark simply says, “When the Sabbath was over”.
- Matthew is the only one to say something substantial about what happened on Holy Saturday. Matthew recounts that Chief Priests and Pharisees went to Pilate on Saturday, asking him to seal the tomb to prevent the disciples from hatching a hoax that Jesus had risen on the third day. Bizarrely, in doing so, they broke the Sabbath Law that was so important to them.
It seems the Gospel writers felt as we do that Saturday is a between-times in which time seems suspended. We wait with bated breath to see what God will do in response to our murder and execution of the Son of God. We wait to see if Jesus will rise on the third day as he promised. We wait to see if there is life after the death of the Messiah.
We wait: silent, hoping, praying, anticipating…
For this reason, I have taken to referring to this day as
A prayer for today:
Lord Jesus, I wait in solidarity with you
and pray for your triumph over death. Amen