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Holy Saturday

Today’s Reflection

ONE CHURCH TRADITION celebrates Holy Saturday, Jesus’ day in the tomb, as the day Jesus rescues all the dead from the time of Adam and Eve onward. A text from the ancient church describes the event in this way: Jesus leaps from the cross into that place of death, takes hold of the hands of Eve and Adam who hold hands with the other dead around them, and grasping them all firmly and securely, leaps out again. It is fanciful, I know.

But at my father’s funeral on that Saturday so many centuries later, it meant everything to me. It began with the priest addressing my father in his casket reminding him how, when he had been baptized, he had been baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ. Now what had once taken place in symbol was happening in reality in the waters of his physical death.

The priest’s words came as gift. At the very moment I heard them, I was filled with certainty that my father on that Holy Saturday had been met in death by Jesus Christ, God’s own self. He was not alone but safe in God. It was then that I stopped crying. The whole of Easter, the whole three days of it, right through to the Resurrection, had become more real than anything else on earth.

– Roberta C. Bondi
Wild Things

From pages 38-39 of Wild Things: Poems of Grief and Love, Loss and Gratitude by Roberta C. Bondi. Copyright © 2014 by Roberta Bondi. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Ponder both the meaning of Good Friday and of Easter on this Holy Saturday. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

John 19:42, NRSV

This Week: pray for people observing Holy Week and celebrating Easter around the world. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Clara Barton (April 12).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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  • robert moeller April 15, 2017, 5:54 am

    Jesus has washed the disciples’ feet, celebrated the Passover, given them Communion, gone out to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and then been taken, sent here and there to face accusations from the Sanhedrin, and finally questioned by Pontius Pilate. Jesus is unjustly crucified. Friday was a day that progressively got worse. Yet all of this was to fulfill God’s plan to redeem the people of the world. Jesus paid the price of sin and overcame death. Easter is the joy of Jesus’ accomplishment. Jesus is alive, resurrected. He has fulfilled the prophecy and all who believe in Him are redeemed, saved. Thank You, Lord.

    Jesus does this all on the Jewish Sabbath just He had done many other miracles on the Sabbath during His ministry. Easter Sunday becomes the new Sabbath.

    Prayers for all Christian believers around the world as we worship and thank the Lord on these holy days of remembrance and thanksgiving for the gift we have received.

    May Easter joy fill your hearts tomorrow and always.

  • Jill April 15, 2017, 6:51 am

    I have never heard of this tradition, but I can see that it would bring great comfort upon the passing of a loved one.
    Attended a wonderful service last evening, with my friend and her husband. The music and media was just right – taking us through the events of Good Friday. And building to the anticipation of Easter morning.
    My mom is hosting Easter dinner – so grateful that she has continued to feel well. I will be helping her today with preparations. I think back to the Fall, when she was struggling so – and just grateful for her getting back to her old self. Grateful for warm temperatures – will also be doing some work in the yard this afternoon.

  • Betsy April 15, 2017, 7:44 am

    Thank you, Robert, on that description of Holy Week and the New Sabbath. Jill, so glad you will have your mom back”full steam” for an Easter celebration!

    Usually Saturday after Good Friday is my version of waiting for the celebration that is Easter. I’ve never heard of this explanation before. What a comfort when a loved one passes. Remembering all those lost to death in my life as being met by Jesus as they meet the Father. Wonderful vision.

    Looking forward in anticipation for tomorrow as we gather to worship Christ who has risen. We will sing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus as a congregation. Can’t wait! Blessings to all here on this Holy Saturday.

  • Gail Churchill April 15, 2017, 7:52 am

    Bondi’s story is a delight. It answers a lot of questions. God”s time is different in my mind. Happy Easter to all. We will be having lunch at Wesley Woods with our 90+ year young mothers tomorrow.

  • Rusty April 15, 2017, 11:14 am

    Great reading today and wonderful comments. Just in case folks may be interested, there’s an excellent book about living through Holy Saturday experiences in our lives – God on Mute, by Pete Greig. I found it helpful during some tough times.

  • Cecilia Mensah April 15, 2017, 11:48 am

    Thanks to the Lord for including us in the achievement of his divine plan for redemption Hallelujah!

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