In those hours before the joy of Easter morning, the followers of Jesus gathered together in grief and confusion. The Messiah they had followed, this Savior whom they had followed and loved, and to whom they had entrusted their lives... he was dead. His body was laid in a borrowed tomb.
In these hours before the joy of Easter morning, this Holy Saturday,
we, followers of Jesus, we gather together, wherever we are...
and we remember.
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Video: at the tomb
Holy Saturday At-Home Liturgy
SCRIPTURE • Matthew 27:57-66 (New Living Translation)
As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.
The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.”
Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.
Gracious God, this is a difficult day, a painful day. Today we remember how the body of our Lord lay alone in the cold and dark of that stone tomb. We hear the finality of the resounding thud of the stone as it was rolled into place, sealing off the tomb from the world. We hear the cries and laments of his disciples, as in fear and despair they mourned the death of their friend, their leader, their savior. We see the darkening sky around us, and we wonder if light will ever again meet our stricken eyes. Be with us, God, as we remember the grief of those followers of Jesus, who had, in that moment, lost... everything.
Spend a few moments in silence, imagining what it would have been like to be those followers of Jesus in the hours before Easter. How might you have felt? What would you have been thinking?
SCRIPTURE • Luke 23:55-56 (New Living Translation)
As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed. Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law.
SCRIPTURE • Mark 16:1 (New Living Translation)
Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body.
Loving Lord, when you went to the cross for us, giving so fully of yourself, you knew how hard these hours would be for those who loved you. You tried to prepare them for the grief and the fear. But how could you explain something so incomprehensible to them? They had been witnesses to your bringing Lazarus back from the grave. But now you were the one wrapped in burial clothes and closed in a tomb. You, they knew, had power to resurrect the dead. But who would bring you back? It was over. It was done. It was finished. As the women went to purchase the spices for your final burial, they knew this was the last act of respect and worship they could offer you. Lord, as we remember this day, help us to remember the faithfulness of those women, who simply sought to honor you... one last time.
Spend some time in silence, lifting up to God all that weighs heavy on your spirit this day.
Our gracious Lord Jesus, as your tomb was closed and your disciples walked away, their hearts were broken open in grief. We ask that this day you would speak to our hearts, broken open in love for you, that we might know your presence.
We remember, God. And we are deeply grateful.