This Saturday, Holy Saturday, is a most unusual day in the Church Year. On Saturday, the day between Christ’s death on Friday and Christ’s resurrection on Sunday is a day on which nothing seems to be happening.
Descending to the dead (or descending into hell, in another translation) might be the response of the Apostles’ Creed to what is happening. [And here is the Catechism of the Catholic Church on this line].
Many are saying this is the Lentiest Lent that we have ever Lented! We, staying at home to break the chain of Covid19 and save lives, we are in an extended Holy Saturday. I’ve recently been connecting the life and insights of Carthusians with our current life battling Covid19 – they regularly see themselves as living in Holy Saturday.
In news about coronavirus and Covid19, if the subject of sentences was removed, the language often sounds very akin to the language of faith. For example, reporters were speaking of the virus as “present but not yet seen”. That sounds so much like religious language. It has an almost Holy Saturday feel to it. A virus is not alive in the sense that we are alive – again there are parallels with faith statements. The virus needs a host… Faith is not a reality until someone lives it…
Here are some books that grapple with Holy Saturday – from my own bookshelf, I can recommend the middle two; the other two look fascinating to me. I’ve put the Kindle link where available.
- “He Descended to the Dead”: An Evangelical Theology of Holy Saturday Kindle Edition by Matthew Y. Emerson
- Between Cross and Resurrection: A Theology of Holy Saturday Paperback by Alan E. Lewis
- Christ’s Descent into Hell: John Paul II, Joseph Ratzinger, and Hans Urs von Balthasar on the Theology of Holy Saturday Kindle Edition by Lyra Pitstick
- Raising Adam: Why Jesus Descended into Hell Kindle Edition by Gerrit S Dawson
Please, pretty please (with a cherry on top), don’t call 11 April “Easter Saturday”. Easter Monday is 13 April, Easter Tuesday is 14 April, … do the Maths… Easter Saturday is 18 April!)
Some of the other resources for this time:
Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter in a Covid19 World
Coronavirus solitude self-isolation and spirituality
Streaming services, online spiritual resources in coronavirus times
New Zealand Prayer Book Daily Prayer
NZ in lockdown
Covid 19 moves churches into the Third Millennium
Carthusians Covid-19 and Communion
Learning from Hermits in a Covid19 World