A Contemplation for Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday

Yesterday, we celebrated Good Friday – the Day Jesus, Lord of all the heavens and the earth, was brutally crucified and died for our sins. Each of the four Gospels gives and account of this. And we know that tomorrow we will celebrate the Resurrection – the central fact of the Christian faith. But what about today?

Today is called Holy Saturday. It commemorates the day that Jesus was in the tomb between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The events (on earth) of today are recorded only in one place in the Bible, Matthew 27:62-66:

62 Now on the next day, the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, 63 and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’ 64 Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.” 66 And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.

That Holy Saturday was a day of darkness – darkness in the hearts of Jesus enemies, who tried to no avail to thwart God’s plans, and darkness for Jesus’ followers, who did not yet understand His words and believed that their Master was gone forever, that all had been in vain.

I am reminded of Chapter 15 in C.S. Lewis’lucy-aslan-dead18 The Chronicles of Narnia. It’s titled “Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time.” ***Spoiler Alert*** Aslan has died after giving himself over to the witch and her minions for the sake of Edmund. In gut-wrenching despair, Lucy and Susan attend to their slain friend, struggling to remove his bonds and overcome with grief. Lewis writes:

I hope no one who reads this book has ever been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been – if you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you – you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing was ever going to happen again.

This chapter describes that first Holy Saturday. If you’ve read the book, you no doubt understand the deep loss the Pevensie children felt. No doubt, this is only a shadow of the grief the first disciples felt on this day.

Today, let’s contemplate the darkness. Not in despair, for we know how the story ends, but because, as one has said, “The sweet is never as sweet without the sour.” Let’s remember that, even in our darkest moments, God is faithful. Let’s make today a day of quietness before Him. Then, tomorrow, let us celebrate the Resurrected King.

holy-saturday

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It’s time to be men

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Groping, rape, and all forms of aggressive, non-consensual sexuality are evil. Period. Full stop.

It is a troubling sign of our times that, given accusations of sexual misconduct by a public figure, the knee-jerk reaction of many Americans is to politicize it. If a news headline reads, “Woman accuses politician of rape,” it’s as if everyone holds their breath waiting to see what party the politician belongs to before they react. Continue reading

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The Bible Tells Me So, by Peter Enns – a review

The Bible Tells Me So, by Peter Enns, New York: Harper One, 2014, 267 pp, $12.78 paperback.

What do you do when the Bible doesn’t behave? Well, if you follow the lead of Peter Enns, you decide that the Canaanite genocide never happened, that the creation narratives were designed by post-exilic writers to justify and support Israel’s national identity, and that stories of Jesus’ birth in the Gospels were embellished in order to underscore the broader implications of Jesus’ life and work. Continue reading

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Learning Theology with the Church Fathers – a review

A pastor once said to me, “If you want information about God, books written in the last five years are great. But, if you want intimacy with God read books written at least 500 years ago.” He was drawing my attention to the fact that the authors of the first 1500 years of the Christian era wrote with a markedly different focus and depth than their more contemporary counterparts. For some, however, picking up a copy of Augustine’s Confessions or Chrysostom’s On Providence is a daunting task. Perhaps a modern book that interacts heavily with these classic texts is what is needed. Continue reading

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Why I am an Egalitarian

As a student of theology and history, I have had the privilege of engaging theological opinions that are very diverse and, often, at odds with “the way I was raised.” Just as some denominations use theological distinctives to clarify their identity, I began some time ago to self-identify myself in terms of categories of theological thought. Continue reading

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On the air for St. Patrick’s Day

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Yesterday, I had the pleasure of returning to the airwaves with my good friends, Gator and Denise, over at KYKN Radio. I’ve been on with them several times before, here, and here are a couple of the segments. Continue reading

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Wait!

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Today I began reading Psalm 25, and I was stopped dead in my tracks by verse 3: “Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed.” I thought of how “waiting” is characteristic of God’s people, Continue reading

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