Today’s blog concerns Holy Saturday. To start at Good Friday, click here.
Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day,and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.-The Gospel According to Luke That’s what our headlines would read concerning the mutilated corpse of Jesus of Nazareth. “Executed man left to rot.” Petty and vindictive, if anyone cared at all past Friday afternoon. He got what He had coming. Justice achieved, and the fun of the macabre spectacle over. Saturday found a dead body, stiffening in the ground, in need of spices to mask the odor soon to come. Saturday found disciples, friends, and family waking up to suddenly remember Jesus was dead. And He would be dead tomorrow, and Monday, and Tuesday, and always.
I live close to a large cemetery, and errands and trips often take me past the vast field of the dead. More than once it’s struck me as unsettling to see how many pretty days shine down upon a last farewell, and how the rest of us keep going. Sure, Friday gets some attention. People cook food and click “like” on an emotional Facebook status. But Saturday always comes. That isn’t to say the tears of are friends aren’t real; I have both given and been the grateful recipient of such gestures. But after the diagnosis, the lost job, the broken relationship, the death, the adrenaline ebbs and new triumph, tragedy, or inanity buries the Facebook story. The food is eaten. The guests go home. Those who held your hand have lives that demand their attention. Saturday always comes.
Maybe you find yourself in Saturday. We have all woken up on Saturday at least once. Saturday can be lonely. Saturday can come soaked in guilt and despair. If it does, it isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last. But if Saturday comes to you, remember that Saturday came too for Jesus and those who loved Him. I don’t know how long you’ve been bearing your cross. Maybe you’re alone, with your now cross bearing you. Jesus hung on His cross until He couldn’t take Himself down. Remember that. Powerless and gone, the shell of a man was removed. Bound, as if cloth would prevent movement any more than the death that already came. And left to rot.