I think my Holy Saturday experience this year is operating on a Jewish definition of when days begin, as I became aware of it late yesterday evening...
Good Friday this year was odd - no familiar markers along the way. Apart from some private reflection on the Passion, it was mostly housework, until the evening when I joined a few hundred folk to listen to a performance of Bach's St John Passion. The use of projected subtitles in English was definitely helpful, and easier for following than a full libretto in both languages in the programme!
The concert ended, we spilled out onto the streets and everyone headed off to cars, buses, or, on foot, to their homes. I left my friend as she turned off to her home and began walking along the main roads (it was, after all quite late, not wise to do lanes and back streets alone).
For a Friday night, the streets were pretty quiet. Outside one pub a few people were clearly having a disagreement, a little further along, a crowd spilled out from a wedding party. The shops were, pretty much, shut up for the night, though a man sat alone in the 'healthy food' cafe with a smoothie. In the children's play park, a group of youths stood round a "ghetto blaster" and danced by the light of their mobile phones. A couple, hand-in-hand ambled homewards from an evening out; a young woman strode past me heading in the same direction...
Mostly though, it was quiet. Shutters and curtains closed. Very little by way of light peeping through cracks.
A population unaware of the significance of this day... which is, of course, how it must have been.
Holy Saturday is a strange, empty, what-shall-I-do-or-think kind of a day. We know the end of the story, and we know we have to wait... our experience can never be that of those first followers who had no idea what Sunday would bring.
It's uncomfortable, this waiting... it doesn't neatly fit our nice rhythm of orderly religious observance. But maybe that's the point: maybe it is in the sense of not knowing that we prepare ourselves to be surprised by what is yet to be.
For the first time in more years than I can remember, I am not involved in worship for Good Friday. It's strange but surprisingly liberating to sit quietly at home, read scripture and reflect on the Cross.
Sophie, the tabby cat whose name means"wisdom" is asleep on my knee. For a time, she was lying so that the markings on her back were directly in my line of sight.
can you see the cross on her back, almost donkey-like amidst the stripes?
Whoever wants to follow me must deny themselves and take up their cross daily.
It made me wonder, as I ponder Jesus' death on the cross, what that means for me.
I may not have a cross etched permanently on my back, no visible sign to remind me, but perhaps when I spend time with Sophie, and enjoy her beautiful markings, I will remember the horror and the beauty of Calvary and find myself drawn again to follow in the footsteps of my LORD.