Lest we think too far forward to chocolate and deviled eggs, pastels and alleluias, let us stay with Jesus today. We cannot see him right now. He is in the deep darkness. He is shrouded in mystery, behind the stone and separated from us by the uncrossable divide between the living and the dead. Most churches give us no ritual to mark this day, and perhaps that is appropriate. We must delve into the nothingness between Jesus saying, “It is finished” on Friday’s cross, and “Woman, why are you weeping?” on Easter morning.
But the psalmist gives us words for this day of no words, this Silent Saturday.
This psalm is a prayer of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. A soliloquy on the kind of grief that saps the soul and body alike, wasting the eyes and even the bones.
It is a prayer of sighs, desperate pleas for deliverance, and rage- induced demands for enemies to be put to shame in life and be made objects of scorn and horror as they are cast, dumbfounded, into Sheol.
And it is also a prayer of trust to the God whose steadfast love can yet bring salvation, to the God whose face can shine even in this dark place.
These words help me imagine what Jesus might have been thinking and feeling on the cross on Friday and what those who loved Jesus might have been thinking and feeling on Saturday. They give me permission to let all that I am thinking and feeling spill out of my broken vessel of a soul, believing that in doing so I will meet the Christ who has been broken too.
What words or phrases in this psalm feel most true to what you are thinking and feeling today? Consider either making these your silent mantra through the rest of the day or going somewhere you can shout them to God as loud as you need to.
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress…. Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love (vv. 9,16).