O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
This year, Holy Saturday is hitting me a little differently. This is normally a day that I forget about. I quickly move from the celebrations of Maundy Thursday (Christ’s last supper and footwashing), to Good Friday (remembering his death on the cross), and then often move my thoughts directly to the celebration of the Resurrection on Easter. However, this year I find myself contemplating the depth of Holy Saturday.
Why have I always rushed past it? Why is it an often forgotten about observation? This is the day we remember Christ being laid in the tomb. Perhaps it is because this is the most painful part. There is no more body for us to see on the cross. No more body to be prepared for burial, wrapped in linens and spices. The body is no longer in our midst. It is buried, sealed away in the tomb…for now.
We all are living in our own versions of Holy Saturday. Personally, I feel a connection with the recent loss of my mother. She died a few months ago, and this time without her is a sort of perpetual Holy Saturday. Her body is no longer with me. She has returned to the earth…for now. She is already living in light perpetual in the presence of God and all the saints, but for me, and my earthly body, I can no longer be with her. Not until I join her in the light of God’s presence.
But this is the hardest time. It is the time between the death and the rising for my eyes that I am living in. It is the hardest time. The time when faith is tried the most. When fears can easily give way to doubt. When the love I once knew so well can turn into remorse or anger. It is through Christ’s example of life, suffering, death, and resurrection that I can rest assured that my mother and I will be reunited someday. On her death bed, I told her that I believe when she awakes in heaven, we will all already be there together, resurrected in the time of eternity in the presence of God. Time has no meaning to God, and I believe that when we die of our earthly bodies, we not only enter our heavenly bodies, but we enter the realm of God’s time, where all earthly boundaries and explanations lose their meaning.
Mom is already with me. But for me, now, in this earthly body, I am living in a sort of ongoing Holy Saturday. We have Christ to thank for unlocking the gates of heaven for all of creation to receive the free gift of salvation into eternal life. Thanks be to God!