Holy Saturday, April 3 – Doubt, Darkness, Despair – By Patricia Aitchison
The scriptures for this chapter say it all. The depth of human sadness, confusion, disillusionment, hurt and abandonment are heard and felt and echo in our souls at times throughout our lives. Jesus felt it before his death and now his followers experience the pathos of emptiness following his death.
I cry out without holding back; if only God would listen… I’m too distressed to pray…I think about the good old days… (Ps. 77)
I am forgotten, cut off from Your care…My eyes are blinded by my tears. O Lord, I cry out to You and I will keep pleading day by day…Why do You reject me? (Ps.88)
Everything is meaningless! (Ecclesiastes 1)
I am disgusted with my life…I will speak of the bitterness of my soul. (Job 10)
It’s a harsh truth that we can never get to the joy of Easter without first passing through the torture of Good Friday and grief of Holy Saturday. So too, for us, we cannot experience the fullness of life without knowing the pain and discomfort of loss and even trauma before recovery. Sadly violence and strife are too common in a world that still worships power over peace, equity and justice.
What can we glean from these scripture passages? That it is okay to be real with our feelings. That it is healthy to express our anger, sorrow and even hopelessness. In fact it is always better “out than in”. We need to feel our feelings in order to be truly alive and recover from them. Suppressing sorrow can in fact cause illness. We need to shake our fists and rage in the storms of life and then the calm of exhaustion comes. It may feel like Holy Saturday pathos will last forever. When in the depths of despair it is hard to know if or when things will change.
Thanks be to God that we know, on this side of Easter, that death does not have the last word. The promise of spring follows the long dark night of winter. New hope rises with the dawn.
Comforting God, encourage us to express our pain and feel the release of tears when we feel utterly alone. Help us hold on until the new dawn of hope rises in our hearts. In the name of Christ Jesus, our crucified Saviour. Amen