The Morning After by Pastor John
I am always struck by the contrast between this day, Holy Saturday, and the rest of Holy Week. The crowds and turmoil of Good Friday have given way to silence and stillness. There is no meal or intimacy like on Maundy Thursday. The excitement and hope of Palm Sunday’s triumphal entry have ended with two women seated before a sealed tomb.
Holy Saturday feels lifeless.
Holy Saturday is the morning after: the morning after the funeral, the morning after he or she said, “the relationship is over,” the morning after the diagnosis, the morning after your plans failed, the morning after your dreams were shattered, the morning after your life fell apart.
Every one of us has a morning after story.
And oftentimes, regardless of the direction we look there is a large stone blocking our way. Our future seems sealed and well-guarded. It becomes difficult, even impossible, to see beyond the morning after. And yet, we yearn for more life, a new life; we want the possibility of the impossible. We want a future.
And that future, the possibility of the impossible, comes to us in the Holy Saturday of our lives, in comes to us in our waiting, which is why we must continue to show up to life even when it feels lifeless.
On Holy Saturday, we come not to just sit opposite the tomb but in opposition to the tomb. We show up with faith and hope that life – our single, precious life – can and will be different.
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.
The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, ‘Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, “After three days I will rise again.” Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, “He has been raised from the dead”, and the last deception would be worse than the first.’ Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.’ So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.