“On the Sabbath day, they rested according to the commandment” (NET) Luke 23:56
After the Crucifixion of Jesus, any hope that Jesus gave to his friends and disciples had died. There was utter despair, not only because they lost their friend, but because they lost their hope. Holy Saturday was not just a day of rest, but a day of hopelessness.
Too often, we jump wholly from Good Friday to Easter. We take Jesus off the cross, and see him walking around — but we never bury him. It seems too much for us to think about what it means to die, to give up hope and to mourn. Today is a day when the disciples hearts cry out for God, and God is absent. Nietzsche expressed this in “The Gay Science” saying: “God is dead, God remains dead and we have killed him.”
Throughout Holy Saturday, this is what we are remembering — God is dead because we killed him. The human response to Incarnation was finally to kill and bury the divine that walks among us. When faced with Divinity, and Someone who lived a righteous and compassionate life, we killed Him, and we buried Him.
Today, on Holy Saturday, let us not jump ahead of ourselves, but let us mourn the hope that God brought. Let us mourn the death of God. Lets let it sink in that we are not only remembering that God is dead, but that there was a conspiracy to kill God. What we need to let sink in is that we are also human. Our society might not kill Jesus, but we would put Him away where he could do no harm. We would not put him on a cross — but we would put Him in a cage — or leave him to starve.
Too often, no matter how religious we are, we live as if God were dead, or caged up. Tomorrow should be the day that defines our faith — but, we all make a mistake when we forget Holy Saturday — we forget that we need this day. We need to remember it because it tells us something both about God and about Humanity. Today, we remember Jesus suffering pain, and hunger, and desperate loneliness. Today, Peter weeps, because on the last day of his Friend’s life, he would not even admit to knowing him. Today the other disciples weep because they all abandoned their Friend when He needed them the most. Today we come face to face with the ugliest part of humanity.
Today God is dead — we know that we need salvation, and our hope is buried. For tomorrow to hold any hope we need a miracle… and the Miracle worker was buried yesterday.