It’s a seemingly innocent phrase I know. But I’m concerned that it has actually created some serious struggles within many people’s relationship with God.
And I do think these kinds of phrases that “wish away” or “skip ahead” of the reality of Silent Saturday are a small example of the context that has created much of the deconstruction happening right now.
Because it’s one thing to say “but Sundays coming.” And it’s another thing to actually live with the reality of Silent Saturday.
For many, it creates a spiritual dissonance. It ignores a crucial reality of the Christian life.
And most times it reveals that we as Christians can misunderstand God, and thus miss His invitation into what He has for us in embracing Silent Saturday.
We can misunderstand when God seems to be silent.
We can misunderstand when God seems to be inactive.
We can misunderstand when God seems to be distant.
These misunderstandings are fairly consistent among God’s people historically and still today.
Many Christians (myself included for too much of my life) were not taught sufficiently how to understand when it seems like God is silent, inactive, or distant.
Though theologically most of us know that because of God’s self-revelation through Creation, Scripture, and Jesus – He could never actually be considered silent, inactive, nor distant.
It still feels this way many times for many people. And it’s a struggle to understand what’s going on when we experience these things…
And we aren’t the only ones who have wrestled with these realities.
Of course, Job is the most extensive story on God being seemingly silent, inactive, and distant.
However, we also see these realities in the final days of Jesus.
In his time in prayer in the garden where God appears to be silent.
In his time during the trial and beatings where God appears to be inactive.
And in his time on the cross where God appears to be distant.
“He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief…He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away…He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave…”Isaiah 53:1-12 (NLT)
So how do we understand these experiences?
I would propose that Silent Saturday holds the key to understanding them.
And most of us have not embraced Silent Saturday enough to have gleaned the lesson it has for us.
Either our emphasis is on Good Friday – usually focused on man’s activity of sin & repentance,
Or on Resurrection Sunday – usually focused on God’s activity of grace & salvation,
Has many times caused us to minimize or ignore completely Silent Saturday and what this day of “inactivity” means for us.
Silent Saturday is an invitation into the in-between, into the already-not yet, into the every day life experience of the Christian.
You see, the majority of experiences in life are those between the lows and highs.
They’re the times waiting on something or someone.
They’re the times where answers aren’t clear.
They’re the times that you know what’s next but aren’t there yet.
They’re the times when God is likely inviting you into knowing Him beyond your own activity or your need for His activity.
When He is saying:
Just allow me to be with you
and allow yourself to be with me,
without needing anything from me
or imposing an expectation on yourself that you think I have of you.
When He is saying:
Just be quiet.
Still your soul.
And trust me.
When He is saying:
It’s okay if you need to focus on the every day things of life,
just know that I’m in those too just as much as I’m in the highs and lows.
See, it’s the invitation of Silent Saturday that informs a full understanding of a relationship with God.
Something beyond simply being saved by Him or servants of Him.
But instead being His friends [John 15:15].
Without it we find ourselves stuck in the cycle of our continual need for God to constantly be at work “saving us from our sins.”
Death and Resurrection, while crucial components, are not the full Gospel story.
Burial is a crucial part of the story.
Silence is in the middle of death and life.
The space between Friday and Sunday is the space relationships are made of.
And it’s a space God is inviting you to spend time in this Holy Week.
Don’t miss His invitation amid the commotion of the cross and the crowds.
He’ll be there.
Expecting you’ll know Him.
In the silence of Saturday.