I don't think we talk enough about Holy Saturday. We have Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday… but Holy Saturday exists right in the middle of all of this, sitting silently.
We tend to skip right to Sunday, leap into celebrating the fact that Jesus is alive. And it is truly a thing worth celebrating. If we stopped celebrating everything else on earth, it would be worth celebrating the fact that Jesus is alive.
But in our haste we skip the part where everyone went home after Jesus was buried, heartbroken and confused - After all, wasn't this man supposed to bring a revolutionary new kingdom? Wasn't he supposed to escape death and save everyone? He wasn't supposed to die like this… was he?
His disciples had given up, unsure what to do now that they had invested three years of their lives into following this man who had died just when they thought things were getting good. How had the man who had promised them so much, had seemed so different from the others, let them down?
We know what is coming tomorrow, but they didn't. From where they stood, all hope had been lost and they were back even further than they had been when they started. The person they had banked their future on was no more. The disciples and the general public were so thoroughly convinced Jesus was gone for good that they did not recognize him even when he physically walked toward them, with scripture recording interactions like this one which took place early that Easter Sunday morning:
"And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened."" (Luke 24:17-21)
"I guess we were wrong. Now what?"
The men on the road to Emmaus had not yet realized that the person they were speaking with was, in fact, the risen Christ. What a surprise they had coming their way when they realized who stood before them. (v.31)
So to the ones who feel distant from God, who doubt and fear, who have unanswered questions - know that you are not forgotten, and that all of your worries and wonderings are welcome here this Holy Saturday. It's okay to ask where is God in this? Have I been wrong about this all along? Big feelings and confusion will inevitably happen; the nature of God is such that we do not understand his actions (or apparent lack thereof) much of the time.
Just know that the silence does not indicate an absence of God's working. He is still there in the stillness, working in ways that we cannot yet see. We spend much of our lives waiting on God to reveal where he has been working, and Holy Saturday is the most significant example of it all.
Today isn't the one with big billing, a big church service. But maybe it should be, for gathering together the quiet prayers and unspoken questions, for standing together and clinging to fragments of hope that maybe God's plan is still working toward something better than we can see.
Until then, hold tight to the truth that the resurrection is imminent. God is still here. God is still good.