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  • Jim Lovelady

Day 40: Holy Saturday

Updated: Feb 24, 2021

Death is just so full and man so small.--Mumford & Sons

Then David got up from the ground, washed himself, put on lotions, and changed his clothes. He went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the Lord. After that, he returned to the palace and was served food and ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.”  He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’  But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”--2 Samuel 12:20-23

There is something of the Lenten journey in this passage. David focused himself, with all his might, on pleading to God for the life of his child, fasting and praying, agonizing, and yet the child died. All his hopes and desires crumbled. All his sins and their consequences laughing and accusing and condemning him in this massive disappointment. How hard the proud have fallen.

Lent is a long and strenuous spiritual journey. You have felt the lack and you have experienced the longing: "I can't wait for this to be over!" You have been filled with the desire to change, to become someone you would rather like to be. You have been reminded that Love is present regardless of who or what you have become. You have seen yourself a bit more clearly and you probably didn't like a lot of what you saw. You wrestled with God and you may even have a bit of a limp now. Your heart has been softened and your compassion for yourself and for others has come awake just a little more. You have crawled to the finish line; the end of forty days of silence, fasting, arguing, pleading, wrestling, repenting.

Think about the disciples and the bewilderment they must have felt on this day of silence. How confused must they have been? How exhausted? How utterly spent, yet still so full of fear. Even the adrenaline, though basically tapped out, is still scrounging for more energy just in case the soldiers burst in to completely squelch the Jesus rebellion once and for all. Think about Mark--who supposedly fled Jesus' arrest naked--and the shame he must have felt when he finally put his clothes back on, covering himself in animal skins. And Mary and Martha, who not too long ago had cried out in despair, "Lord if you had only been here!" only to witness the victorious resurrection of Lazarus. But now? "Lord, if you were only here," is answered with silence from a sleeping tomb. And mother Mary who probably wept all night in the arms of her new son, John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, as he remembers laughing to the rhythm of his savior's chest as he leaned into him all those times they reclined at dinner. The laughing as turned to silence. Mary's tears are dry but her weeping continues. And Peter…how hard the proud have fallen.

I realize that I always come to Holy Saturday exhausted and rather underwhelmed by myself and by God: "This is it? What was that all about?" I think that is the normal emotion for Holy Saturday. But don't forget, you've just come to the beginning. This is what makes Easter all the more glorious. Tomorrow is going to be a good day. Tomorrow is a new creation. Tomorrow, what was dead will rise.

So we sit in silence--"Lord have mercy,"--as we wait…for a whisper...

"There will come a time you'll see, with no more tears

And love will not break your heart and dismiss your fears

Get over your hill and see what you find there

With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair"

Be still. Take in the silence of Holy Saturday, the Great Sabbath.

Let not your heart be troubled. Get up. Take some food. Go to the house of prayer and worship the Lord. Sunday is coming.

I confess…I confess…I conf…I...

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