SCRIPTURE: 1 Peter 4:1-6
Good Stewards of God’s Grace
1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), 2 so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God. 3 You have already spent enough time in doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of dissipation, and so they blaspheme. 5 But they will have to give an accounting to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does.
Margaret Anne Fohl points out that “In the Reformed tradition, Holy Saturday is often overlooked liturgically, a lull in the action following two intense holy days, a quiet time before the exuberant proclamation of Easter Sunday. For the pastor and organist, it is a welcomed respite—a day when she or he might even have a day of Sabbath! But for the Orthodox Church, Holy Saturday is a continuation of our pilgrimage with Jesus from his farewell to his disciples to his suffering, death, and burial. It is a time of remembering the saints of the faith who have gone before, even singing through the church’s graveyard to join with the dead in anticipation of Jesus’ resurrection, which assures our own. The author of 1 Peter affirms this in verse 6: ‘For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does.’ Jesus’ reconciling death on the cross is not limited to those who followed after him, but is offered equally to all the saints who have gone before. Some Protestant churches are returning to this Orthodox tradition with special services on Holy Saturday, emphasizing throughout every day of Holy Week what it means to follow Christ.”
As Protestants, United Methodists fall into that group that typically does not celebrate/observe Holy Saturday. But in the current situation of this pandemic, when everything seems open for reconsideration and revamping, might this be something that we reconsider next Easter season? In addition to the lives that have been lost due to other medical or physical situations, there are the additional lives lost to this virus. Might an observance of Holy Saturday be a good way for us to honor and remember them? Yes, Holy Week is busy and often takes a lot out of many of us, from pastors to musicians to worship leaders. But not knowing for sure where everything will be come next Easter season, an observance of Holy Saturday might not only be healing for many but also that positive reminder of Jesus’ victory over death.
What do you think about observing Holy Saturday next Easter season? In what ways might an observance occur (i.e. worship service, singing in the graveyard, etc.)? How would this influence or impact how you celebrate All Saints Sunday, if at all?
Resurrecting God, your Son’s victory over death brings salvation and resurrection for all people who believe in you. Help us to always find joy in celebrating that sacrifice of Jesus and be encouraged and strengthen to share it with all that we encounter. Amen.