Holy Saturday

What a weird and bizarre day it is, to think that this very day one thousand, nine hundred and eighty years ago to the day, the fourth of April in AD 33, in the middle of the Passover festival, Jesus was dead. His body was cold in a tomb. He was dead.

Today life went on like any other day. People drove cars and ate lunch and ran through the rain huddled under umbrellas. Didn’t anyone realise how strange it is that we have this Saturday in the middle of the Easter weekend where God was dead? I kept catching myself in the middle of doing something normal – drinking my cup of tea, checking my phone, brushing my teeth – and then feeling like normal things are completely inappropriate for Holy Saturday. Jesus was deadGod was dead. How can we do anything normal on a day when everything we know about God and reality, all our normal metaphysical parameters about God not being dead, everything we assume was turned completely inside out?

And yet this bizarre, impossible, long dark day of death, April 4 33, was the only way that Jesus could save us from our sins. The wisdom of God is foolishness to men. A stumbling block. A laughing stock. What a weird and bizarre day it is; all I can do is stand in awe.

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I’ve never really appreciated Sufjan Steven’s earlier Michigan album. Compared to Illinois it sounds sparse and slow. But it made for good meditative listening on our way home down the mountains from our Easter visit to our parents. For the first time I listened carefully to ‘Oh God, Where Are You Now?’ and realised how perfect it was for Holy Saturday listening: the confusion of where God is when sin seems to be winning, intertwined with unshakable confidence in God’s power to save from death.

Oh God, hold me now
Oh Lord, hold me now
There’s no other man who could raise the dead
So do what you can to anoint my head

Oh God, where are you now?
Oh Lord, say somehow
The devil is hard on my face again
The world is a hundred to one again

Would the righteous still remain?
Would my body stay the same?

Oh God, hold me now
Oh God, touch me now
There’s no other man who could save the dead
There’s no other God to place our head

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