Please set aside a few moments to pray this Holy Saturday, using the words below. You’ll also find them in the booklet you received if you are on the parish electoral roll. Alternatively, you can download this form of service as a PDF for reading or printing.
Feet that danced through the streets of
Jerusalem welcoming the Messiah
now softly pad the back alleys in search of shadows.
Hearts that leapt with joy at the sight of David’s true son
are thrown out with Golgotha’s rubbish.
Hands that wrapped a newborn son in bright bands of cloth
now shroud his broken body and lay him gently, tenderly, softly, in death’s manger.
Where glad hosannas rang out
there is now only the silent, weeping heart of God.
Today is the day which is often forgotten about- passed over in our rush to hurry out of the grief of yesterday, longing for the hope of resurrection. Yet we are slowed down, pulled to a stop. On Holy Saturday, Jesus’ body lay dead. Heaven seemed to have gone silent. We cannot rush past that.
What are we to make of it? Holy Saturday honours and gives voice to the experience of so much of our lives, where we are on the threshold and we cannot go back, yet we do not know what is around the corner. One cannot jump from Friday to Sunday – there must be Saturday.
John 19:38-42 The Burial of Jesus
38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 39 Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40 They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42 And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
Jesus, remember me
when you come into your kingdom.
Jesus, remember me
when you come in to your kingdom
Confronting our own Holy Saturdays
Jesus, we come to you today.
We wait outside your sealed tomb.
We cannot go backwards.
We cannot un-do the pain of yesterday.
We stand here as your disciples did:
in grief, fear, confusion and doubt,
amidst the unknown.
We do not know what tomorrow holds
or how long our Holy Saturday will last.
As we take up the stone of our hearts
and place it before your sealed tomb,
let us lay our own unknowns before you.
None of us can escape Holy Saturdays. They can come in many forms throughout our lives: redundancy, ill health, a change in our relationship with God, the loss of a loved one. Suddenly everything has changed. Something has been lost. Things are not as they were. Yet we do not know yet what they will be. We cannot go backwards, but we cannot yet move forwards; hope seems lost. We do not know how long this will last. We are forced to wait in this season of unknown.
Awaken me, Jesus,
to your presence within me,
and below me.
Grant me grace to follow you into the unknown,
into the next place in my journey with you.
In your name.
Stepping into the Unknown
May we know the Loving Father’s presence with us
as we sit in this place
May we take the hand of Jesus
through our unknowns
May we be guided by the Spirit
and receive the peace of God
which is not bound by our circumstances