Silence. Day 46 of Lent. The tomb of Christ.
In the silence of Saturday our focus is on the Tomb of Christ.
This is no ordinary grave. It is not a place of corruption, decay and defeat. It is life-giving, a source of power, victory and liberation.
A day between the horror of his sacrificial death and the joy of His resurrection, the day is full of watchful expectation. Just as the Sabbath is our rest and reflection day, our foretaste of our final eternal rest with God, so this silent Saturday is our foretaste of anticipation when mourning is transformed into joy.
The day embodies in the fullest possible sense the meaning of xarmolipi – joyful-sadness, the bittersweet emotion that is the wonder of the holy week.
Saturday is the day of the pre-eminent rest.
Christ observes a Sabbath rest in the tomb. His rest, however, is not inactivity but the fulfillment of the divine will and plan for the salvation of humankind and the cosmos. He who brought all things into being, makes all things new. The re-creation of the world has been accomplished once and for all. Through His incarnation, life and death Christ has filled all things with Himself He has opened a path for all flesh to the resurrection from the dead, since it was not possible that the author of life would be dominated by corruption.
Paul tells us that: “God was in Jesus Christ reconciling the world to Himself” 2 Cor 5:19 Eternal life and light Himself penetrated the depths of Hades. Christ who is the life of all destroyed death by His work on the cross. That is why the Church sings joyously ” Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son; endless is the victory, thou o’er death hast won.”
The solemn observance of silent Saturday helps us to recall and celebrate the great truth that by faith we are buried with Christ, seeing in Christ’s burial our own burial of all of our sins, of our past life. Our sin is dead and buried with Christ. Like burning a bridge we can’t go back. The victorious life is hindered by the memory and rehearsal of past failures. We can not live the abundant life when we continue to cultivate a root of bitterness over past injustices done to us by others or of our own sins we feel are unforgivable—all must be given over to Jesus today to be good and buried with him. To participate in Christ’s burial is to put away once and for all the old ways of thinking, the former wrong emotions and habits and attitudes toward God and others and our self in order to be completely free from the past to live a new resurrected life. As we choose to live as though buried with Christ, the power of His work on our behalf makes us realize that the memory as well as the influence of former habits has lost its power and is truly dead and buried.
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”
1 Cor 15:16-17