For most people, this day before Easter is traditionally filled with the bustle of preparations to celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection. We finish our shopping, bake sweet treats, iron our Sunday best, nestle plastic eggs in baskets, and in the busyness, we sadly forget the weight of this day nearly 2,000 years ago.
We forget Jesus’ final words, “It is finished.”
The sun’s failure to shine at the cross.
The darkness of the sealed tomb.
And the tears of those who had just lost their best friend.
We often speed through this day, pushing aside the darkness and despair we ourselves feel in this sin-scarred world. We know that Sunday is coming and with it our Hope, Jesus, our Savior, but we forget so much about that first Holy Saturday so long ago.
We forget that Jesus’ final words filled His followers with despair, for they didn’t know the end of the story.
We forget that Sabbath day was not one of rest but one of anguished cries.
That shadows of fear and questions of “Are they coming for us?” weighed heavy.
And that we, too, have permission to cry out to God.
Today, as our hearts strain for the final resurrection, Jesus’ second coming, let us not miss the gift of this day, one sandwiched between death and life. God has given us an opportunity to still our souls in His presence. He invites us to give Him all our burdens, to lament the disappointments and losses of the past months, to shed tears that He alone counts. Yes, we know how Holy Week ends, but let us not miss pouring out our hearts before our God today.
Be still, my soul! for God is on your side; bear patiently the cross of grief or pain: leave to your God to order and provide, who through all changes faithful will remain. Be still, my soul! your best, your heav’nly Friend through thorny ways leads to a joyful end. Be still, my soul! for God will undertake to guide the future surely as the past. Your hope, your confidence, let nothing shake; all now mysterious shall be clear at last. Be still, my soul! the waves and winds still know the voice that calmed their fury long ago. Be still, my soul! the hour is hastening on when we shall be forever in God's peace; when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone, love’s joys restored, our strivings all shall cease. Be still my soul! when change and tears are past, all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
UFC’s easter service will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday.
Please check university-fellowship.com for livestream, in-person, and outdoor (weather permitting) options.
Last year on this blog we met acrylic artist and Jesus follower Ellie Escobar. We’ve highlighted her story on a special page of the blog here. In her Easter Morning paintings (some of her first with acrylics), Ellie painted Mary Magdalene with two different expressions.
Ellie writes: The first one illustrates her face according to John 20:15, and the second one is from John 20:16 when she found out that it was Jesus Himself whom she had been talking to. Her expression changes when she hears Him say her name. In an instant, she moves from weeping for the last three days, to this glorious moment when she sees her beloved Savior again. As Michael Card sings in Love Crucified Arose, “For the heart that sin and sorrow broke is beating once again!”
I think these pieces share a perfect message for the difficult situation we are all going through with this endless pandemic and its collateral damages. I know that many families are going through problems. We’re in a kind of endless ‘Holy Saturday’ with what seems like endless griefs. We feel like we’re going through this dark tunnel without any hope of light in sight. But this Mary encounter with Jesus reminds us that God had been there with Jesus’ followers all the time, developing this blessed plan of His greatest miracle ever — the resurrection of Jesus! And with it, the open door for the salvation of all mankind who believes in Him.