Holy Saturday - April 11
Wesley Theological Seminary Assistant Professor of Worship and Chapel Elder, Elder in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church
|Consuming oceans of coffee on a daily basis
God’s Gone Fishing ~ John 19:38-42
Holy Saturday has always struck me as one of the oddest liturgical celebrations: it’s a high holy day with…nothing but waiting. Which has always made me wonder: what is God up to in the middle of all that waiting?
One surprising answer emerges from the writings of the early Christian preacher Gregory of Nyssa, who describes Christ’s work on the Cross as a divine “fishing trip!” In his Catechetical Oration, Gregory writes: “God, in order to make himself easily accessible to him who sought the ransom for us, veiled himself in our nature. In that way, as it is with greedy fish, [the Evil One] might swallow the Godhead like a fishhook along with the flesh, which was the bait. Thus, when life came to dwell with death and light shone upon darkness, their contraries might vanish away. For it is not in the nature of darkness to endure the presence of light, nor can death exist where life is active.” Gregory describes the Evil One almost comically, as a “greedy fish.” And he reminds us how God became a human to redeem our nature, “baited” the Evil One with his body on the Cross, and ultimately caught him in his own trap of death – thereby freeing all of us caught in that trap. We might say that, on Holy Saturday, God is going fishing!
Holy Saturday and fishing have more in common for us also than we might think: waiting, silence, the sounds of water, more waiting, and – in the end – a feast! During our Holy Saturday celebration there isn’t anything scheduled. This frees us for a holy waiting. It frees us to remember the sound of water splashing over those who have been redeemed through baptism. And it opens space for us to prepare ourselves for the feast that awaits in the resurrection. May this Holy Saturday bring you quiet time in the waters of grace to prepare your hearts and appetites for the heavenly feast that comes with the dawning of tomorrow!