Our Lent Retreat and especially between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is not complete without the reality of Holy Saturday in life. Holy Saturday, a one day experience in the church calendar year could be a lifetime, months or years of mourning for those who have suffered the death of a loved one. Holy Saturday is the reality of the tomb experience, the darkness of our life, darkness of a shattering reality that we had no idea what is next. Holy Saturday, assurance of empty tomb prepares us for the dawn of hope and Resurrection in Jesus Christ.
Holy Saturday points and speaks to us about the daily reality of our lives. It was a dark reality when the doctor announced the shock discovery of my son’s brain tumour some years ago. In the tomb of our Holy Saturday, the dark reality, when the doctors have done their best, me and my wife remembered the God that raised the dead, Jesus Christ, the Great Physician. Beloved, there is assurance of empty tomb, there is hope beyond your Holy Saturday. The hymn by Gloria Gaither wife of Bill Gaither speaks volume of the strength behind our Holy Saturday, a dark reality:
God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone,
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!
Because Jesus lives beyond Holy Saturday, we can face death and tomb; because Jesus lives, we don’t have to worry (Matt 6:25). Because Jesus lives, we can face eternity (Heb 9:27, JN 3:36, Matt 7:14). Beloved, there is hope for the darkness of your Holy Saturday. Halleluyah!
Many of us have our own experiences of Holy Saturdays in different context and environment, when we find ourselves in the dark reality and unknown tomorrow. Jesus’ Holy Saturday, 2000 years ago, a time in between his death and resurrection offers and points us to the core of Christian faith, the hope beyond the darkness of our shattering reality, the assurance of empty tomb. The truth is that just as the first disciples experienced joy after their Holy Saturday, there is hope for me and you as true follower of Jesus Christ beyond the valley of our present grief and darkness. Holy Saturday offers us assurance that, just as the last have not been heard from Jesus, our darkness of shattering reality will soon come to an end. Pilate was banished from Rome, Caiaphas became a museum close to Jesus’ crucifixion site, and Judas committed suicide. Holy Saturday offers hope beyond the tomb of sin, death, grave, and hell. Holy Saturday prepares the church for the double blessings of the coming of the Holy Spirit in power and the promise that Jesus himself would come again. Holy Saturday calls you and me to look forward, with great hope, towards ultimate Resurrection, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, ‘for since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, we also believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him’ (1Thess 4:14, 1 Cor 15:14). Holy Saturday summons us to live a good life in this increasingly evil world knowing that all things works together for good to those who are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). Holy Saturday summons us to a settled faith that the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ is in control when we hear of ‘mother of all bombs,’ war and rumours of wars especially between the world super powers. Beloved, the dark realities of our lives points to the bridge and gap between our faith in Jesus Christ and its fulfilment, His appearing (Acts 1:9-11).
NOTE: ‘Sorry to bother you, but it is very urgent! I have a friend who came from far away and needs a place to stay. I suggested your place. I ask you to receive and love him. His name is Jesus Christ.’ Please, welcome him.
Prayer: O Lord, help not to allow the bereavement, the dark shattering realities in this world to overcome the promise of eternal life in Jesus Christ.