Day 7: The Silence of Saturday
Take a Break
Make It Personal
For the Jewish people Saturday meant Sabbath, a time of rest. All was quiet on this particular Saturday, but that doesn’t mean there was peace. For everyone in Jerusalem, it was their first day coming to grips with what had just happened. For the followers of Jesus, it was a first chance to process their heartbreak. Their friend was dead, there was no question about that. But He was also more than a friend; He was the embodiment of promises, hopes, and dreams. He was the means to their desired future. Saturday was a moment to mourn the death of dreams, the loss of opportunities, and the uncertainty of the future. What would happen next? Would the Jewish leaders turn their spiteful gaze on the disciples now? Would Roman soldiers soon arrive, kick in the door, and size them up for crosses? Saturday was filled with doubt, fear, and anxiety. Most of all, though, Saturday was filled with the sounds of God’s deafening silence.
Perhaps you know the sound? It’s the kind of silence where our heads pound with questions. “Where was God?” “Why didn’t He stop this?” “How can we go on trusting Him?” It’s the kind of silence when our hearts ache in uncertainty. “What happens next?” “How will I go on?” “Will things ever get better?” Our fears and worries are all too happy to fill the vacuum of this silence with their “What if…” questions. And the temptation is to give in to the fear, frustration, sorrow, or loneliness that seem so characteristic of the Saturdays in our lives.
This Easter, the reality of such experiences feels more acute and dire than ever, because the whole world finds itself in a Saturday moment. For all of us, uncertainty and fear loom large. “What is going to happen?” “Will we be okay?” “My family depends on me, what if I get sick?” “Where was God when my loved one got the virus?” “Why didn’t God prevent this in the first place?” We work through those questions, only to be greeted by more long-term questions about jobs, the economy, and the look of a new world post-pandemic.
The Jesus story is, of course, a three-day story, but nobody knew that on Saturday. And that’s part of the point. In order to get to Sunday, we must get through Saturday. So in the meantime, it’s okay to lament–to embrace and express our grief and sorrow. The desert is not always a punishment. The dark night of the soul is not always the result of sin. Like the Psalmist, we are welcome to share our complaints with God. We can mourn along with (and for) those who mourn. It’s appropriate to grieve over what is lost and what will never be. Your Heavenly Father can handle it. And who knows, you may just find that the silence is purifying. After all, Sunday is right around the corner.
Make It Stick
Weather permitting, grab a blanket (and possibly a jacket) and head outside after the sun goes down. Find a comfortable place to sit. This will be our way of symbolically representing Saturdays, those necessary dark nights of the soul. You may choose to simply sit in silence for a period of time. You may want to wait for a while, watching the movement of the moon and stars (if they are visible). Or, you may want to use the time to lament before your Heavenly Father.
Set a timer for 30 minutes before the sun goes down. Explain to your kids that we are “waiting” to look at the stars together, just like people waited for Jesus. Ask them to describe what “waiting” feels like?
If your student joins you outside (see above), talk to them about the reality of quarantine. What has it been like so far? What do they miss? What if it never ended? How would they feel? How would you feel? Imagine what it was like for followers of Jesus to watch Him die, not expecting to ever see Him again. It can be heavy, but real.