I think I’ve written about this day before. I’ll look before I go to bed tonight. I feel sure that I have because I remember this feeling and I’d be surprised if I hadn’t turned to writing on previous Holy Saturdays.
Nestled between the mix of emotions, the sadness, the horror, the grief, and the gratitude of Good Friday, and the confusion, the wonder, the excitement, and the joy of Easter Sunday, sits Holy Saturday. Today would be an ordinary day if not for the days that surround it. Every year I spend the day cleaning the house, much as I do on any other Saturday. And yet, my mind wanders both backward and foreword as I remember and anticipate what was and what will be.
Several of us attended a tenebrea service yesterday, where the story of Christ’s passion was read from the gospel. It’s a lengthy reading allowed to stand on its own without interpretation, which makes the service all the more profound. I confess I do not fully understand the meaning of the words, even though I know them well. Betrayal, sacrifice, forgiveness, suffering on a cosmic scale, I’m always left wondering why there couldn’t have been another way for God to have “loved the world so much that God gave God’s only son so that the world might be saved.” Year after year, day after day, there is nothing left for me to do but accept the mystery.
The joy of tomorrow leaks into today as well. How could it not? Anticipation of the music, the pageantry, the message of hope and of life, the time spent with family and friends, multiplied by fifty years of personal experience and thousands of years of repetition cannot be held at bay by such an arbitrary distinction as a day and a night. Who can blame me for sneaking Easter Sunday’s Hallelujah Chorus (sometimes on repeat) into Holy Saturday?
And so here I sit, taking a break from cleaning, on this extraordinary ordinary Holy Saturday. And I can’t see the words that I type on the screen for the tears of sorrow and of joy. It’s as if all I have known, and all I will know compress and expand into these few hours and I can say with great assurance that I am loved, that you are loved, that we are loved, now and forever.
Happy Easter. Amen.