Saturday, April 03, 2010

My bishop's reflection on Holy Saturday

The Vigil of Easter

May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

Joan Chittister writes that everyone who has ever lived, or who will ever live, will someday undergo a Holy Saturday of their own. Someday we will all know the power of overwhelming loss when life as we know it changes, when all hope dies in mid-flight. Then, and only then, she writes, can we begin to understand the purpose of Holy Saturday.

No doubt about it: this is the day of going down into the tomb---our own as well as Jesus'. It is now time for us to die to false hope. It is also time for us to die to faithless despair. Finally our hope is in the mercy of God in Christ, and not in our faithless attempts to construct hope in our own image, for our own ends. Finally, to begin to see the world as God sees the world and trust that God is the light in every darkness, is hope, whether our eyes can see the hand of God, or not.

To be able to come to that point before the beginning of the Easter Vigil, before the cantor sings the Exultet into the darkness, is what Holy Saturday is really about. Then loss is gain, and silence is a very clear message from God.

Adapted from The Liturgical Year, Joan Chittister


Merciful God, you heal the broken in heart and bind up the wounds of the afflicted. Strengthen us in our weakness, calm our troubled spirits, and dispel our doubts and fears. In Christ's rising from the dead, you conquered death and opened the gates of everlasting life. Renew our trust in you that by the power of your love we shall one day be brought together again with all whom we have loved and lost. Grant this, we pray, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

ELW, page 285

--Bishop Allan Bjornberg

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