Holy Saturday is the in-between day. It is the time Jesus was laying in the tomb, where the disciples were trying to process the horrific death of their savior. How hopeless they must have felt. The person they had followed the last few years, the person they had put all their hope in, was gone forever. They were left alone to cope with a world that had destroyed the one who had come to proclaim a new kingdom based on love.
They were left empty and unfulfilled.
I presided at a woman’s burial. I was the only one there. The funeral home had come and unloaded the casket at the graveside. The gravedigger stood and watched them place it on the canvas cloth strips over the hole. There was no artificial grass hiding the dirt. I took out my prayer book. The gravedigger said he would be back after lunch to finish the job and I could take my time.
I said the usual prayers and then I sat near the casket wondering who this woman was. The funeral home said a man from California had called to make the arrangements. The woman had died alone at home, the funeral home had been called, I had been called, and here was the casket.
It was a Holy Saturday moment. We believe that we see the face of God in all people. Here was one of God’s people that had faced death alone and we had been chosen to accompany her to the tomb.
I waited for the gravedigger to come back from lunch. I prayed as he lowered the casket into the grave “All of us go down to the dust; yet even at the grave we make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.”
In my own life, I know there is time in-between those moments of loss and resurrection. They can be long periods of time to the point where we may not think any resurrection is possible. But sometimes we just need to wait through the darkness for the first light, the first fire of Easter that will illumine a new path for us. We are people of hope and even when it seems like no one cares, perfect strangers arrive and accompany us even to the grave.