St Mark’s Lenten Thoughts: Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday

Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16 Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24 1 Peter 4:1-8
Matthew 27:57-66 or John 19:38-42

Holy Saturday can sometimes get lost in both our theological imaginations as well as in our Easter preparations. The Saturday before Easter is understandably filled with pressing our best suits, laying out pastel dresses, and maybe even stuffing plastic eggs while mapping out the most balanced course for scattering them in the yard.

Losing Holy Saturday in the Easter hustle and bustle, however, is a great loss. We honor this day in our liturgical calendar for a reason: it’s holy. It’s sacred. For the friends and followers of Jesus, this particular Saturday was full of shock and utter disbelief. They woke up on this Saturday morning having just witnessed their hope, their savior, their leader and friend, brutalized and executed. Perhaps they hoped it was just a nightmare but awoke crushed with the memory.

Year after year, as we liturgically walk alongside Jesus and his followers, we’re invited to remember the breadth of emotions they went through two thousand years ago. And on this particular Saturday, we are invited to lament with them.

Lament is a somewhat lost art in our modern experience. Lament is a practice of grief, mourning, and sorrow. The book of Lamentations shows us that this kind of pain and despair is an integral part of being human. Its presence in our scripture shows us it is also an integral part of being a child of God: it’s holy. It’s sacred.

But lament is not simply the experience of a raw emotion. It is, in fact, a practice. It is an act of faithful sorrow, which makes room for all the pain and suffering in this life, but never loses sight of the hope on the other side.

The author of Lamentations names his sorrow and cries out, and in the same breath remembers his hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. On Holy Saturday, embrace the fullness of lament in whatever corner of your heart may need it today, but always keep your eyes on the Eastern horizon, awaiting the dawn of Easter.

Madeleine Rebouche

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