March 26, 2016 – Meditation for Holy Saturday Mtr. Kathryn Boswell
(A meditation based on Matthew 27:57-66)
When evening fell on that last, worst day the stage was set; the final act about to begin. Most of the players had left the darkened stage and headed home: the restless crowds dispersed, the victors cautiously jubilant, the dispirited followers cloaked in sorrow and fear and weariness. The only ones left in the falling dark were the soldiers doing guard duty in front of the sealed tomb, and two women, their fear overcome by grief, patiently awaiting the time when they could perform one last kindness to their fallen Lord.
There was not one heart in which the flame of hope shone brightly enough to extinguish the shadows of that night. It is ironic that as far as we are told, the only ones who recalled Jesus promise in that hour, that he would rise again on the third day, were the ones who had orchestrated his betrayal and death. They ordered the seal to be set on the stone Joseph had rolled in front of his tomb; they set a guard to keep watch, lest the followers of Jesus should try to make a pretense of the Resurrection. But they need not have bothered, as it turned out.
The minds of the disciples could not yet comprehend the joy that would come with the dawn. They had seen Jesus rescue others from the grasp of death, Jairus’ little girl, the widow’s only son, their good friend Lazarus. They had marveled at his power. But in the end their old enemy death seemed to have had the victory after all.
We Christians are people of the morning. Living on this side of the Resurrection, we know the astounding joy that would come with the sunrise that day. We have the witness of those who spoke and ate with the risen Christ: as John wrote, “That which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and our hands have touched…we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life…”
But we are surrounded on all sides in this world by people for whom the evening shadows still hang dark and heavy. We live beside, we walk among, we work and shop and play with those for whom the sun has not yet risen, for whom the bones never escaped the confines of the sealed tomb, for whom death is still the final authority. It is our glorious privilege and our urgent responsibility to kindle the watch fires of hope in the dark night of this world. For, if even those who heard the promise from the Lord’s own mouth were left hopeless at the unarguable certainty of Jesus’ lifeless body, how can those who have never heard have any hope at all?
O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one god, for ever and ever. Amen.
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