Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday – But what about Saturday?
Certainly Saturday must have been what seemed like one of the longer days of the week. Jesus had died, terribly, but burried certainly. With each moment came the expectation that those who came for Jesus might come for them, that the “Jesus Problem in Jerusalem” wasn’t going to be settled until all his followers were rounded up and seen to their own demise.
Saturday is the between time. The after the cross but before the resurrection.
The importance of the between time, the day between the crucifixion and resurrection, the day between Friday and Sunday, is holy time. For the Jews, that day, Saturday, it was worship, Sabbath, the Holy Day.
For Christians, Holy Saturday marks that between time, that space between the crucifixion and resurrection, the day of emptiness, which, if noticed for what it was, could have pointed to the emptiness of the tomb.
To enter nothing, to step into the void, is our holy journey. It is where, like the disciples, we encounter God. Meister Eckhart said, It is characteristic of creatures that they make something out of something, while it is a characteristic of God that he makes something out of nothing. Therefore, if God is to make anything in you or with you, you must first become nothing. Hence go into your own ground and work there, and the works that you work there will all be living.
The first symbol of Easter is a void. Easter begins with nothing. Easter begins with the empty place. Easter begins with the empty tomb. And an invitation, “Come and see the empty place.” Emptiness opens us to possibility. As the proverb says, It is not the bars but the space between them that holds the tiger. Without space, there is no room for life symbolized by the tiger.
A priest will often use a cup as a symbol of self. Like the tea cup, it is not the pottery but it is the space between the pottery which gives life. Without space, the cup would be a ceramic ball – a poor ball that breaks soon after you throw it. It is the space that allows the cup its purpose. In a similar matter, not the notes but the empty space between them that creates the music. It is the empty places that make the music. In a similar manner, it is not the walls, but the space between them that makes a home… or a church. Without space, a church would be one giant block of concrete. Space makes room for life. We call church space between the walls ‘sacred’ space.
Easter invites us to let our minds be sacred space. The transformation of Easter, which took a tomb of death, and made it sacred, is to take your mind and make it sacred space – an empty place where you can experience the power of God to give full life. What does God want from you? Nothing. And it may be one of the hardest things you have to give. Especially on a Saturday. Especially when we face a tomb. That’s why we call those moments, “Holy.” Soren Kierkegaard described prayer as going intentionally to that empty space, a great way to live out Holy Saturday.
As my prayer became more attentive and inward,
I had less and less to say.
I finally became completely silent.
I started to listen
–which is even further removed from speaking.
I first thought that praying entailed speaking.I then learnt that praying is hearing,
not merely being silent.
This is how it is.
To pray does not mean to listen to oneself speaking.
Prayer involves becoming silent,
and being silent,
and waiting until God is heard.