The Silence of Saturday

“It’s Friday…but Sunday’s comin’!”

That’s a popular refrain among Christians on these final days of Holy Week. But we might reasonably respond in our most skeptical tone, “Yeah, right!”

Over on my favorite blog, Slacktivist, Fred Clark posted Holy Saturday. First seen in 2010, he’s reposted it every year. Fred has written a ton of great pieces over the years, but that one remains a favorite. Though, as Fred writes, “favorite” might not be the best word for his post or for this day. But it rings true like almost nothing else.

This day, the Saturday that can’t know if there will ever be a Sunday, is the day we live in, you and I, today and every day for the whole of our lives. This is all we are given to know. Easter Sunday? That’s tomorrow, the day after today. We’ll never get there in time. We can believe in Easter Sunday, but we can’t be sure. We can’t know for sure. We can’t know until we’re out of time.

“There are some things we can know on this Saturday. Jesus is dead, to begin with, dead and buried. He said the world was upside-down and needed a revolution to turn it right-way-round and so he was executed for disturbing the peace. He came and said love was greater than power, and so power killed him.

That post 10 years ago really helped me better understand what this Saturday of Holy Week really means. I look forward to reading it every year and it always moves me. This time more than ever before. This year, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, every day can feel like Holy Saturday. Today as we shelter safe at home, we wonder when we will ever get back to normal life. As many others have said, I suspect there will be no normal to which we can return.

We can feel overwhelmed — overrun even — by uncertainty, fear, loneliness, and death.

Today, perhaps like no other Holy Saturday in living memory, we feel the weight of this day. Today, perhaps like no other Holy Saturday in memory, we feel the silence of Saturday.

As Dr. Tony Jones writes in his excellent Did God Kill Jesus?:

On Good Friday, at the very moment Jesus’ faith hit its nadir, God’s humility reached its zenith. But Jesus didn’t know that. Like so many others before him since, at the very moment that Jesus was most in need, all he heard was silence.

As counterintuitive as this sounds, if all you hear today is silence know that you are not alone. I can’t say for certain that “Sunday is comin’!” but I’m going to try to keep living as if it is.

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