Saturday, April 7, 2012

Holy Saturday

Today we sit in vigil.  Christ is in the tomb, and we are waiting for him to appear.  Today we dwell on the sadness of Good Friday, but we remember, as the Psalmist wrote, "The joy comes with the morning."

Before we get there, though, we must remember, that for three days, the world was without Jesus.

To help us remember,  I offer the short Holy Saturday Service, offered in The New Handbook of the Christian Year, of which Hoyt L. Hickman is one of many fine editors.

Prayer

Merciful and ever-living God,
Creator of heaven and earth:
As the crucified body of your Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy day,
Grant that we may await with him the dawning
of the third day as he promised,
and rise with him in newness of life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 27:57-66
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.
Response to the Word

In the midst of life we are in death;
from whom can we seek help?
From you alone, O Lord,
who by our sins are justly angered.
Holy God, Holy and Mighty,
Holy and merciful Savior,
Deliver us from the bitterness of eternal death.