It is Saturday morning, the time of this holy week that is perhaps the most completely neglected. Yet, for me Holy Saturday is a poignant time. Good Friday, with its agony, death, and burial is behind us. We taste defeat. Yet, tonight awaits the Great Vigil hailing the resurrection. But now, in these moments, we are in-between in absolute silence. Lord Jesus is in his grave, nothing will be as it was before. Early theologians will teach that right now the Christ-Spirit is travelling to purgatory, there to parole all the righteous who lived and died before his Good Friday, to grandfather them into his salvation. (viz. I Peter 3:19)
The thoughts of Jesus’ earliest followers must have been much less complex. I am sure that, on Saturday morning, with its founder executed, dead and buried, and followers hiding, the Movement looked equally defunct! The dream of a faith rooted, not so much in law but in grace, less in obedience and more in loving service, a holy society to encompass absolutely all God’s children in one family, must surely be dead! We shall learn a lot about trust and hope in the next few hours, but for right now we must live with God’s awful silence.
We reflect on whether divine promises are true. We think about whether new life is really possible. We ponder whether death and evil have the final word, or God has more to say to humanity. The answer to that query will have more significance than just the fate and future of the Jesus Movement. The answer will also tell us whether we must rest forever in our tombs of fear, resignation and despair, controlled by forces of oppression, hate, and selfishness that keep us and our world bound. Can we break free? For if Christ rises, then perhaps we can rise from all the things that keep us in our several little tombs, that keep us away from abundant life. If there is a real Easter, then there will always be real hope. That possibility is especially strong for us who are in a ‘Holy Saturday moment’ of waiting, as humanity battles the scourge of coronavirus. We wait, w trust, we hope. Stand by for further developments.