Holy Saturday in Holy Week “so he rested from all his work”
Scripture: Genesis 2:1-3
2 So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. 2 On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.
Reader: This is the word of the Lord. Response: Thanks be to God.
Put yourself in the mind of the disciples today. The one you have traveled with the past three years was dead. You had seen him raise people from the dead; you had seen him walk on water, feed thousands of people miraculously, cast out demons, make crippled and blind people well. He talked about proclaiming the Kingdom of God has come yet avoided following through on setting up his Kingdom and in fact had gotten killed in the process. You had the added guilt in running away instead of standing up for him. Things were in a mess! You really don’t know what to think about anything. You thought he was the Messiah, but that idea is over. You are sad and depressed and guilt-ridden. This is an awful day!
Now look at this day from another perspective. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Through each of the seven days, God added to the work he had done the previous day. On day six he made male and female in his own image and gave them free will and finished up his work. On the seventh day God rested from all his work and declared it a holy day because it was his day of rest, it separated the ordinary works from the holy. It was laying the foundation of Israel’s worship. It was also the day without end. Each of the other six days all end with the phrase “it was evening and it was morning.” That phrase is absent from the seventh day. Why? It anticipates the unending fellowship between God and his people. Sin entered and the perfect communion between God and his people was broken. What does this all have to do with Holy Saturday? What were Jesus’ last words on the cross? “It is finished!” and “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” After he finished his work of creation, God rested. After Jesus finished his work of re-creation, he rested in the tomb. He commended his spirit back to his Father, his work of redemption completed. No one but the Father and the Son knew what had happened. But soon, that would all change. Just a few more hours!
Music: Messiah Part II Dream Orchestra Daniel Suk conductor
Prayer: This is the night, when Christ broke the bonds of death and hell, and rose victorious from the grave. How wonderful and beyond our knowing, O God, is your mercy and loving kindness to us, that to redeem a slave, you gave a Son. How holy is this night, when wickedness is put to flight, and sin is washed away. It restores innocence to the fallen and joy to those who mourn. It casts out pride and hatred and brings peace and concord. How blessed is this night, when earth and heaven are joined and man is reconciled to God. All glory be to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit world without end. Amen.
―Book of Common Prayer