Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. –Psalm 30:5 (KJV)
I call the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday “Silent Saturday.”
As a child I faithfully attended Holy Thursday and Good Friday services. One of the things I remember about this time right before Easter is that no music was played in church. The organ was silent, as were the bells and other instruments. Songs were sung a cappella.
This period of silence impressed upon me the solemnness of the time when God’s Son was betrayed, condemned, crucified, and buried, paying the price for the sins of all mankind from the dawn of creation to the end of time.
I knew, of course, what would follow—Easter! The day Jesus burst out of that Mid-Eastern tomb in all His glory—alive forever! The return of music! The return of hope and joy.
Little, if anything, is said in the Gospels about “Silent Saturday.” For the Jews of that time, it was the Sabbath, a day of rest. A day no work was to be done.
We read nothing of what Jesus’ followers did that day.
We can only imagine what they felt: Grief. Hopelessness. Despair. Terror. If the Jewish authorities could do this to Jesus, who performed all those miracles and claimed to be God’s Son, what would they do to His disciples? So they hid, their dreams for the Kingdom and their places in it shattered, their future uncertain. The plan, they thought, went horribly, horribly wrong.
Or did it?
They had no idea that actually everything was going wonderfully, impossibly, exactly according to plan—God’s plan. They didn’t know they were in the waiting room—not the hiding place—between deep despair and unbridled joy. Between apparent defeat and glorious triumph. Between paralyzing terror and a holy boldness that would set the world on fire and launch the Jesus Movement.
But, oh! That first Easter morning—who could even begin to describe the wonder they experienced at the empty tomb, the joy at seeing Jesus alive? It was exceedingly, abundantly, above all they could have imagined.
But they didn’t know all that on Silent Saturday.
What about you?
Are you in a “Silent Saturday” time of your life? Are you dealing with grief, loss, bitter disappointment, discouragement, night-long weeping? Are you scraping at the bottom of the empty barrel of hope? Fighting despair and feel like you’re losing the battle? Thinking that your dreams, your future, are sealed up in a tomb of decay?
Hang on, dear one loved by God. Saturday will pass. The night of weeping will end.
The Son will burst over the horizon, His rays chasing away despair and flooding your soul with hope and joy.
It’s Silent Saturday, but get ready, Pilgrim. Sunday’s coming.
Thank You, God, for Easter, when hope springs eternal. Amen.
Read and meditate on John 16:16–33
Where it all began . . . with a devotional column I practically had to beg the newspaper publisher to let me write . . . to three devotional books and 19 years of a writing a column that won second place in the 2009 Pennsylvania Newspaper Association’s Keystone Press Awards. In 2000, 50 of my favorite columns, along with 8 poems, were published in book form (paperback). To mark the milestone of going into the column’s 20th year, the first book of meditations is now available for your Kindle for only $.99. Click here for more information.
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Happy Easter, dear readers!