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Holy Saturday

The Lord be with you

Holy Saturday is the Saturday before Easter Sunday. This is the day our Lord rested in the garden tomb. Easter morning he will burst the chains of death and rise from the grave. As I grew up, the theological significance of Holy Saturday was not explored much in my church. I suspect that was true in most Lutheran churches. Today, though, more and more churches are recognizing Holy Saturday and often have an Easter Vigil service.

Holy-Saturday-imagesPerhaps the chief point about Holy Saturday is that every aspect of our lives was experienced by Christ in order for him to redeem them, to sanctify them. He was conceived, born, baptized, grew-up, died and was buried. His rest in the tomb was the last aspect of his “humiliation,” that is, his complete identification with the human race. It was the last step in him “fulfilling all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15) for us. [You may wonder about marriage as Jesus did not marry. However he did experience family life, which is what marriage is all about, and he did sanctify marriage when he went to the marriage feast in Cana (John 2:1-12).] So on Holy Saturday Jesus sanctifies our rest in the grave, the last phase of our sinful earthly life. From our graves we will, like Jesus, rise in resurrection glory on the believers great “Easter” day, the Last Day, when Christ returns.

Like a growing number of churches, we will have an Easter Vigil service on Holy Saturday. The full liturgy for Holy Saturday includes many Old Testament readings that are types of our Lord and would last three hours or longer. The service is intended to end after sunset so is really the first worship service of Easter Day. The Vigil service, therefore, ends with the reading of one of the Resurrection accounts and a benediction. It marks the end of the “Holy Triduum” (Holy Three Days).

At Our Redeemer we will have an Easter Vigil service, which will begin at 6:00 PM. We will use a reduced number of readings so the service will not last three plus hours.

Prayer: O God, You made this most holy night to shine with the glory of the Lord’s resurrection. Preserve in us the spirit of adoption which You have given so that, made alive in body and soul, we may serve You purely; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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