30 Mar Holy Saturday: Time in the Darkness
We live in a fast, focused, driven culture. Only those of us with discipline and grit can stay on top of the day-to-day demands and meet or exceed the expectations set for us by our supervisors, our families, or sometimes our biggest critic, ourselves, get to rest in the coveted place of achievement and success. There are incentives and rewards for the efficient, crafty, high-capacity producers in our society today.
Because we align our values in this way, time is scarce. It is our most precious commodity. Whether you are earning hourly wages and need a couple more hours to secure the funds to pay your bills, or you need to escape the prison of your objective-driven work week to spend precious hours with those you love, time is scarce.
However, despite the scarcity of time, the traditional value of attending church on Easter Sunday will be evident on April 1st. Church attendance all over the nation will spike as the Resurrection of our LORD is celebrated. We block off our time to celebrate the ultimate achievement and success of Jesus, the Conqueror of death. It is a joyful reality that even those who may consider themselves nominal Christians find the time to worship the King with the bride of Christ on this joyous Sunday.
That being said, as we look at our fast-paced, achievement-driven culture, maybe, just maybe, we need time on Saturday more than Sunday.
Now, I will not diminish Resurrection Sunday, as the resurrection is the foundation of our faith. Paul writes in 1st Corinthians 15:14, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” However, as I look at the climate of our western culture, is it possible that our busy soul longs for the contemplative gaze that Holy Saturday requires? For it is on Saturday where we must hope and have faith in the darkness, and as we hope and our faith is tested we often see the eeriness of the darkness juxtapose the glory of the light.
The fact is we need Saturday because Saturday is where we are. Saturday is where our loved ones battle cancer and our health fails. Saturday is where our family suffers through divorce and our relationships are in turmoil. Saturday is where our careers fall apart and our earthly dreams are shattered. Saturday is for the abused, the neglected and those who suffer from injustice. Saturday is for our brokenness and the brokenness of our present world.
So, on this Holy Saturday, let us groan with Christendom and take the time to wait. In the darkness, let us cry out to our salvation saying, “When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to you into your holy temple.” In the darkness let us rest as the Godhead did on the completion of his creation and as the incarnate Christ in the completion of the cross. In the darkness, let us acknowledge all the pain that comes with Saturday. In the darkness, let us take the time to be present on Saturday so that in the light our worship may be multiplied on Sunday.
Zach Epps is the Director of Family Ministry at the Overland Park Campus.