Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota

Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC) Lectionary Reflection Meditation on the Readings for Holy Saturday


Job 14:1-14
Psalm 130
1 Peter 4:1-8
Matthew 27:57-66
John 19:38-42

Meditation on Holy Saturday by John Gibbs, PhD

There can be no doubt about the death, and its finality within a new tomb, sealed behind a large stone. The gospel writers insist on all that. This death-day is weighed down by heavy words from the day before: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46; Mark. 15:34)

The altar is stripped. No light remains. Darkness reigns. "There is no celebration of the Eucharist on this day."

There was no cheap grace here, no Resurrection until the third day. This, however, was the day before, and on that day who could have known what comes next, if anything?

When life tumbles in, what then?

Here have we no abiding place: all of us, including the urban homeless one who is abandoned by eight million souls. Each mortal is few of days, and full of trouble. They say that there's more hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord:

Eden, windswept and barren. The torrents washing away the soil of the earth . Glaciers melting away into the sea. Springtime singing no more.

Lord, have mercy.

Hiroshima pulverized. Dresden disintegrated. Barefoot girl fleeing burning napalm. Under ashen sky Western civilization birthing Auschwitz, monument to madness.

Christ, have mercy.

Prodigality displacing sonship, imago dei beyond his own recognition . Consuming addictions to quantitative additions. Searching in a distant country where the hills of home cannot be found. Bystanders elsewhere doing nothing, permitting the scapegoating of their pastor to proceed to its bitter end.

Lord, have mercy.

Praise to you, Lord Christ, that time was not brought to stand-still on such a day as that, for our times are in your hands. With the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.

Thanks be to God that you, Lord Christ, went into the far country of our deepest needs, there to bring all us prodigals back into the Father's redeeming embrace. We thank you that we are not forsaken, but forgiven so that we may live the rest of our earthly lives by the will of God

We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

John Gibbs, a retired theologian, attends Trinity Episcopal Church, Park Rapids, MN. He originally wrote this reflection in 2001. John and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to John Gibbs or any MEESC member, or mail them to:
MEESC Holy Trinity Church Box 65 Elk River, MN 55330-0065 USA

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