Dark Saturday

kneelingprayerThe Gospels give account of the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection; washing the disciples’ feet, the last supper; Jesus’ arrest and torture, His journey to the place of the skull, His suffering and death on what is known as “Good Friday”. Then there are stories of Sunday morning when the women approached the empty tomb, encountered Jesus and told the others what they had seen. We read about Sunday evening, as the disciples huddled into a locked room, the risen Jesus appeared to them. But not much is said about the Saturday in between.

“Holy Saturday” as it is called, was the Sabbath day and a special one as it followed the Passover feast. The disciples may have followed tradition at the temple offering prayers. They may have stayed locked away out of fear for their lives. The two men that walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus were returning home, so some may have scattered.

Easter Sunday is bright and joyful, and rightfully so. “Good Friday” is shocking and sorrowful, ending in darkness. Saturday is a mixture of dark and light, stuck in a gray fog. That Saturday had to be one of the darkest days ever known, second only to that Friday. Some tears had since dried and the shock of the crucifixion had set in. Fear, doubt, and disillusionment most likely ran rampant.

“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, … ‘About Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied. ‘He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” Luke 24:13-16; 19-21

These two had hoped for deliverance, but now doubted what they had heard and seen, abandoning their newfound faith and running away, possibly feeling foolish for believing such things. This must have been a common feeling. It is believed that Judas witnessed all the events that his betrayal caused, and hung himself sometime thereafter. A dark Saturday indeed.

Now consider Peter. The man who Jesus renamed “Petra” meaning “Rock”. He boldly pronounced that Jesus was the Messiah and stepped out of the boat to walk on water with Jesus, only to sink when fear set in. He said he would follow Jesus to death and drew a sword, yet denied Jesus three times in the courtyard.

“Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.” Matthew 26:74-75

For Peter, it was a dark Saturday, “weeping bitterly”.

One Sunday morning, I was playing a song I had written. Truths in song based on personal experience tend to resonate loudly, but can be dangerously raw. I began the song confidently, but in the first chorus, a phrase struck me in a way I had not expected. Tears welled up, my hands shook and my voice began to falter. I remember thinking, “I’m already a mess and the bridge has always been the hardest to sing.” I stumbled through the words; my hands forgot how to play. I cut the song short, directly left the church, sat in my truck and wept bitterly. Memories of past failures rendered my meager talent unworthy for God’s use. I could hear the rooster crowing in Peter’s ears.

Later, I sat at the piano, trying to play out my pain. Deep seeded emotion tends to block out the rules of writing and produces something creative, whether painful or otherwise. A melancholy melody began to form and drew me deeper in self-pity.

“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:3

That’s where I wanted to be and lyrics flowed like tears. The resulting song ranges from failure and darkness to a cry out to God for wholeness.

“Plant me by streams of Living Water
My soul is dry and begun to wither
Wash me with water from the well that won’t run dry
Make me whole again, Dear Lord.”  – Make Me Whole Again by John Adams

Each time I revisit that song, memories of that time replay. I also get a chance to root out dead wood that has blocked me from peaceful waters.

Dark Saturday reminds me of Peter’s pain and of things I try to hide in the shadows.

On dark Saturdays
Make me whole again, Dear Lord

And allow me to be
Blessed in Great Measure