Holy Saturday

          "Pieta" by Tony Walter

Holy Saturday reminds us of a world waiting for justice
the barely-endurable vigil of sitting through the night without sleeping listening for the breath of another
the gaping sorrow of empty arms when death claims one we love 

Holy Saturday stands like a bookmark
for the cold of poverty and isolation
for the chasm of estrangement
for words of condemnation, given and received

Holy Saturday is the prodigal in the pigpen
the lowest ebb
the memory of brutality
child trafficking
slave labour
oppression of every kind
waking up to space where a loved one once lay beside you

Holy Saturday is so deep a sorrow that it cannot bear the sorrow of another
it is empty silence on the other side of weeping
it is a raw imagining of the eternal one dead upon a stone slab in a borrowed tomb
it is regret
wishing you hadn’t run away
it is reliving your denial
it is reliving the words you can no longer take back
rehearsing the words you wish you had said when you had the chance

Holy Saturday is a tomb
Holy Saturday is a world that doesn’t know resurrection
it is a terminal diagnosis
science and medicine without answers
it is the valley of the shadow of death and no rod or staff for comfort
it is questioning the messiah you thought you knew

Holy Saturday holds us
it waits in the darkness with doubt
it offers no easy answers or trite clichés
it enters in to ashes
it stands at gravestones
it smells like burial

it shows us the shiny falseness of the things we pursue
the hollowness of riches and possessions
the fickleness of the crowd
clangs loudly, painfully our inability to cling to those we love

Holy Saturday is the mystery of a God who dies
while the temple curtain tears and the earth shakes
it is a faith that will not gloss over pain
it is a God who knows the loss of a son
it is the questions that are too hard to voice

Holy Saturday reminds us not to hurry those who grieve
to be with them in the darkness
it reminds us that creation groans
and that we are not condemned for grief

Holy Saturday reminds us of Jesus grieving at the tomb of a friend
though he held resurrection in his command
Holy Saturday gives us the gift of being
with questions
with doubts
with sorrow
with trauma
with misgiving 

Holy Saturday is the stop in the dark we fear to take
the darkness we try to escape with plastered-over easy alleluias
it is the gift of one who does not hurry us through death
but waits with us
however long it takes
for Sunday to come 

Holy Saturday is a God who knows intimately the inside of death
who has gone towards it
without flinching

Miriam Fisher, Christchurch Coordinator and Lecturer, School of Social Practice (Education)


“Daughters of Zion” by The Porter's Gate (feat. Josh Garrels & Casey J)