Jesus is in the tomb. The silence is deafening, the darkness blinding. The brutal chaos of Good Friday gives way to the hollow emptiness of Holy Saturday.
I can only imagine what the disciples were going through, what they were thinking. We get a hint from the two disciples on the Emmaus road when they said, “we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel” (Lk 24:21 ESV).
How could the disciples pray? What would they pray? Who would they pray to? (assuming their view of God would be deeply shaken in these moments) I imagine they’re paralyzed by the pain and the shock of Friday’s events.
It’s important for Christians to remember and enter into this aspect of Easter weekend as well. Too often Good Friday services are contaminated with premature resurrection. Resurrection is out of place and even harmful if it is the kind that avoids death, or the type that has come through means other than suffering and death. Such “resurrection” is not resurrection at all, but pseudo-resurrection. We are too uncomfortable with pain and unanswered questions, so we rush to the “good news” of Sunday without allowing ourselves to dwell in the “bad news” of Friday. Alan Fadling comments,
Maybe there aren’t many Holy Saturday services (as opposed to early Saturday celebrations of Easter in larger Protestant churches) because we want to feel something: pain or pleasure. Holy Saturday is a day when the disciples live not in the sharp pain, but the dull ache of loss. The grave is, obviously, a lifeless place.
On this Holy Saturday, it may help to think about any places in which you feel lifeless. A hope or dream has died. Zest or gusto for life has waned. Perhaps today you can let these places in your life be buried with Him, resting and waiting for the power of God’s Spirit to raise Him (and you) up. Perhaps today can be the dark backdrop against which the bright joy of Easter stands out.
Let us rest in this Sabbath emptiness and allow the darkness and silence to create space for God. When resurrection comes tomorrow (and it shall come) it will find ample space for the flourishing flood of life from God! Bring all your empty and broken places into this holy darkness with the Son of God. If he will not rise, then neither will we. Let us wait with him.