Last month, Christian churches around the world recognized several days during Easter week: Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and, of course, Easter Sunday. On Good Friday we honor and celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross that purchased our freedom from sin. On Easter Sunday we celebrate His defeat over death by rising from the grave and allow us to rise with Him when we accept Him in our lives. But little attention is paid to Saturday. The gospels are largely silent on Saturday and as a result, we pay little attention to it. In fact, it has been dubbed Silent Saturday. But the truth is that we live on Silent Saturday today. With Easter in the rear-view mirror, I thought it a good time to explore Silent Saturday.
First, what makes it Silent Saturday? Well, God went silent. Jesus lay silently in the grave. The disciples are scattered and in hiding. They have no idea what is about to happen tomorrow. To them, the Jesus Movement is dead. There is no hope, no way forward. Their lives are most likely in danger. They see no avenue by which Jesus’ teaching can be advanced. And there is really no reason to advance them, in their minds, because Jesus was just another revolutionary who died at the hands of Jewish leaders and the Roman government. Sadly, many Christ-followers are living on Silent Saturday the same way today.
The future is always an “undiscovered country,” but it is hidden in a deeper fog than it has ever been for most people alive today. When will stay at home orders end? What will it look like? Will businesses and churches see everyone masked and still keeping six feet apart? How bad will the economy get? The weight of all of this became too much last month for CNN media critic Brian Stelter and he tweeted this:
“Last night, I hit a wall. Gutted by the death toll. Disturbed by the govt’s shortcomings. Dismayed by political rhetoric that bears no resemblance to reality. Worried about friends who are losing jobs; kids who are missing school; and senior citizens who are living in fear.
I crawled in bed and cried for our pre-pandemic lives. Tears that had been waiting a month to escape.
I wanted to share because it feels freeing to do so. Now is not a time for faux-invincibility. Journos are living this, hating this, like everyone else.”
Later, on camera, Stelter would say, “it’s okay not to be okay right now.” He is right, it is okay not to be okay. But you do not have to be not okay if you do not want to. Why? Because as Christ-followers, we can live on Silent Saturday secure in the knowledge that Sunday has already happened. Jesus is risen and sometimes we miss the totality of that reality:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:28-30 (NIV)
This passage is often misused. It does not mean that we should attempt to trivialize or minimize the suffering of others. As one author I read recently put it, do not make the mistake of using the “take this verse and calling me in the morning” approach with others when citing this verse. J. I. Packer puts this passage in its proper perspective:
“As believers we find in the cross of Christ assurance, that, we, as individuals, are beloved of God; the son of God…loves me and gave himself for me. Knowing this we are able to apply to ourselves the promise that all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose. Not just some things, but all things! Every single thing that happens to us expresses God’s love for us, and comes to us for the furthering of God’s purpose for us.”
Yes, we live on Silent Saturday. But we know what Christ-followers on the first Silent Saturday did not; the promise of Easter Sunday. This is impossible for non-believers to grasp and is often a challenge for believers to accept. When we have accepted Christ into our lives, we can know that everything that happens to us is an expression of his love. Somehow, he will work bad things for our good. All things include pandemics. That does not mean we cannot feel grief, pain and anguish. With this assurance, we cannot understand everything that happens to us but still know God’s love is in it, always. Even in the most difficult times, Saturday does not last forever. Sunday comes. Guaranteed.
This post was republished with permission from Oakbrook Church, De Pere, WI.