Apr 15, 2006

holy saturday

It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. (Mark 15:42-46)

"Holy Saturday."

That's what we call today, most likely because we don't know what else to call it.

(I find it interesting that the Scripture calls this "Preparation Day.")

It's a full 24-hour day of darkness... death... hope lost.

It is the anchor to the legal period of death. The Jews would count "3 days of death" of at least one hour on Friday, 24 hours on Saturday, and one hour on Sunday. If you've ever wondered how Jesus rose after "3 days," this the context.

Practically, though, it's a whole day where a large boulder blocks the tomb, keeping death within and people discouraged.

Kind of like life during those times when your life has been consumed by darkness... death... hope lost.

We like "Resurrection Sunday," don't we? That's when we get to wear pastels and skip to church, high on candy and eager to sing "Up From The Grave He Arose" and "Because He Lives." We shake hands, smile at strangers, and go home to eat a nice dinner.

We don't like Holy Saturday.
And yet that is where a lot of us live life.

And yet in the midst of the darkness of a tomb, there is a faint memory of a promise...
"Rescue is coming."

I got this in my email this week.

"Do not believe in miracles... rely on them."

And yet hope is a dangerous thing, isn't it?
When was the last time you were afraid… of hoping?Hope makes us vulnerable.
  • Hope that we’ll get that job...
  • Hope that we’ll get a good reference…
  • Hope that she will come back… he willl come back…
  • Hope that she won't come back… he won't come back…
  • Hope that seeing the doctor is a good thing…
  • Hope that the check will come… or the bill won’t...
  • Hope that there is nothing else to try because you have tried it all…
  • Hope that not knowing how it will all turn out won't bite you in the end...
  • Hope that believing in God is a good thing.
Ah… that’s the real fear, isn’t it? The fear that God in whom we are hoping in is real and is trustworthy. Hope that the rock will bust, death will be defeated, and rescue will come.
Sometimes we feel that if the world is out of control that God is out of control.
Do things just always have to be this way?
Do we need to live in the darkness of the tomb?
Do we need to be afraid of hope?
Maybe you’re tired of pretending that things are fine when you are afraid and feel stuck in the tomb. Maybe you really need to allow God to put things back together but you’re fearful of what that may or may not look like.

Don't skip over to Sunday... feel the weight of today.



And then...

when your whole day is full of darkness, as if you or someone you love has been sealed away in a tomb with a boulder larger than life guarding any sense of hope...

stop telling God how big your boulder is...

tell your boulder how big your God is.

Go on... Hope.

Rescue is coming.
(Perhaps in a form you just don't expect.)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this PT. It fits exactly where a friend and I are at. It's encouraging.

-Jennifer Parks

Philip Magee said...

It was encouraging to come accross this blog through your reply posting on Soren A kirkegard Blog by Brian Robertson. As you spoke about the hope, I remembered about the verses in 1 Peter which brings us back to the ressurection.

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his
great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-- kept in
heaven for you,

5 who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of
the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.