Truth Be Told

Signed copies of the book I co-authored with Soong-Chan Rah, "Unsettling Truths - The Ongoing Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery" are available from my website:

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Holy Saturday: What do you do on the day that the cross is empty and the tomb is sealed?

Two thousand years later, we comfort ourselves on Holy Saturday with the reminder that "Sunday is Coming". But we forget, the disciples did not have that hope. Jesus tried to tell them, but they did not believe. They could not comprehend it. So imagine...

You just watched your master, the person you were convinced was the Messiah, die a horrific death on a Roman Cross. You saw the religious leaders and all of the people publicly reject him. You observed his beating. You followed his trail of blood out of the city. You heard his gasps for breath. You read his lips as he questioned why even his own Father forsook him.

And then you watched the unthinkable. His body went limp as he cried out, gave up his spirit, and died.

The soldiers pierced his side, his blood drained out and all hope was lost.

Still numb, you helped remove his body from the cross. You laid it in a tomb and you watched the stone being rolled in front of it.

And then you saw it sealed.

It was over.

The next morning must have been a daze. For the past 3 years you followed this man around. You walked with him, laughed with him, fed thousands of hungry people with him. You survived storms together. You even saw him heal the sick and raise people from the dead.

But now the cross was empty and the tomb occupied. And all you can think about is the way you ran away when the soldiers came. Even after you looked him in the eye and swore you would never do such a thing!!!

What a horrible day Saturday must have been.

Not only did Jesus, the Messiah, the son of God, die. But he died alone.

Because you abandoned him.

On a day like that, there is only one spiritual discipline that you can cling to. Only one holy practice that you could possibly engage in.

What do you do on the day that the cross is empty and the tomb still sealed?

You weep. You mourn.

You lament.

Friday has happened. And Sunday may be coming. But if we skip over the horrific pain, the absolute confusion and the utter despair that the first Holy Saturday must have been, we devalue them both.

Mark Charles

(Updated 3/31/2018)


Mark Charles said...

What do you do on the day that the cross is empty and the tomb is sealed?

You lament...

We live in a nation, and attend churches, that are convinced of their own "exceptionalism". This makes it difficult to know what to do with the Saturday before Easter. Our culture teaches us that everything needs to be celebrated. Nearly nothing can be mourned. Even "Good" Friday must be looked at in a positive, hopeful light. But if we look at Saturday from the perspective of the disciples, lament is probably be the only option.

Deborah Evans said...

Lament is an honest response to loss, grief, and pain. Something valuable can be learned in sorrow. Fortunately, God doesn't leave us there.

Mary P. Myers aka PrudentHope said...

Lament. I understand lament, but you're right. I always "knew" the Resurrection was at hand. I know can empathize better.