I often hear, and have said myself, you can’t get to Easter Sunday without Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. But what about Holy Saturday? According to the glossary of the Episcopal Church, “The three holy days, or Triduum, of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are at the heart of the Holy Week observance.” Our family always (well mostly always) attended services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, but Holy Saturday….
As a young mother of four children spanning 4 ½ years, Holy Saturday was spent finishing the outfits I insisted on smocking and sewing for them each year or festive Easter egg hunts in the neighborhood. As they got older, the day was spent between athletic fields and ballet rehearsals. Sometimes a last-minute run to find a dress (they no longer wore smocking) or shoes was a part of the day. After I was ordained, in addition to the above, Holy Saturday was spent revising my Easter sermon and working with the altar guild to get the church ready. One year I did try to have a Holy Saturday liturgy, no one came. What Holy Saturday was not was a day of prayer and reflection. I’d like to say I considered 2 out of 3 Triduum observances pretty good, but the truth is, I didn’t even think about the third. I wish I had.
The truth is, I know Holy Saturday continues to be for many young families, just like it was for us. The world doesn’t stop for the Triduum, but I wonder how we could? I suppose we could refuse to allow our children to participate in extracurricular activities during Holy Week, and maybe some people do, or maybe there is a way to both recognize and live into Holy Saturday AND continue to live in the world.
Here are some ideas I wish I had thought of years ago.
- Wake early as a family and sit down to a simple breakfast and read the brief liturgy for Holy Saturday in The Book of Common Prayer. It includes a collect of the day and four scripture readings.
- While at home today, home keep the TV, radio, and all electronics off.
- Have a simple dinner together and if you didn’t at breakfast, read the liturgy for Holy Saturday. Wonder aloud how the disciples must have been feeling. Imagine what their conversations included while hidden away in the upper room. They didn’t know what was going to happen the next day. How would that change this day if we didn’t know?
It’s Holy Saturday, and we wait.
[Image Credit: Hochhalter, Cara B.. When They Crucified Jesus, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.]