Holy Week Blog 2015, Saturday: What Do We Do On “Saturday?” AKA: What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

Matthew 27:57-66 NRSV:

57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’64 Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard[t] of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.”[u] 66 So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.

I’ve seen a lot of Easter stuff in the news this week. Lots of Egg Drops, Easter Egg Hunts etc. Rural King selling baby Chickens. Lots of candy going out. Lots of celebrations. Some stuff about Holy Week, but not a lot.

Here’s my question: What do you do on Saturday?

In this passage, lots of people did something on Saturday:

  • A rich man named Joseph honored Jesus.
  • John’s Gospel has Nicodemus providing about 100lbs of spices to prepare Jesus’ body for burial.
  • Pharisees gathered before Pilate to cover their trails and hedge their bets a little.
  • Pilate continues to placate them, hoping this whole thing will just go away.

See, Saturday wasn’t a good day for Jesus or his disciples, and that’s what I want us to wrap our minds around tonight. It was terrible, hopeless etc.

What do you do on Saturday? When things are hopeless? When the Resurrection and all its life and hope seem a million miles away? What do you do when you don’t know what to do, and it doesn’t seem like God is speaking? “Saturday” can really stink. And if we blast through Holy Week doing Easter stuff, we will miss what Saturday has to teach us.

Then you’ve got the two Mary’s… What did THEY do on Saturday?

They waited. At the tomb. It’s almost like they’re waiting for something to happen.

And it does…

SO what do we do on Saturday?

We wait. And waiting is hard.

We trust, even when trusting is hard.

We worship, bringing our pain and suffering to God anyway.

We remember the first Saturday, when all hope was gone. And we remember that Saturday gave way to Sunday. We benefit from the perspective we’ve been given because of when we live. We know what the disciples didn’t. We know Resurrection is coming. And so with Mary and the other Mary, we wait at the tomb… anticipating something miraculous even if all hope seems lost.


Blessings,

Mark

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LentBlog 2015 Day 14: On the Church

Ephesians 4:1-6

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

NRSV


I teach a theology class on Tuesday nights. It’s for pastors who are in training headed for ordination in our tradition, the Church of the Nazarene. Tonight’s session focused on ecclesiology, or the theology of the church.  We talked about the church being One (in unity), Holy, catholic, and apostolic. One of the conclusions we came to together is that in many places, we are in the church living below the poverty level in regards to our calling as the church. We are settling for less. We aren’t living out unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity. We tend to fall short of living lives worthy of our calling. And I don’t mean “fall short” in a sort of Calvinistic, “we all fall short, so that excuses our sin” kind of way. I mean we tend not to take words like Paul here in Ephesians 4 very seriously.

See, as I read this passage (and it comes as no surprise to me that this is next up after spending three hours tonight talking about the church), I don’t think Paul is simply setting out some unreachable ideal here. He’s not setting the bar impossibly high in hopes that the church will at least improve a little. I believe the “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” is actually possible for the church to live-out. It takes grace. It takes work. It takes a whole bunch of God’s people getting over their individualism and personal agendas. It takes leaders and pastors who lead out of love, grace, passion, and wisdom and not fear, guilt, and self-centeredness. I think such a church will be an amazing witness to the world around her, and I’m looking forward to being her pastor.

Blessings,
Mark