Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday: Learning to Live through Death - Seek First the ...HOLY SATURDAY SERVICE

GREETING

Jesus Christ is the light of the world
a light no darkness can quench
Stay with us Lord, for it is evening
and the day is almost over.
Even the darkness is not dark for you
and the night shines like the day.
Let your light scatter the darkness
and fill your church with glory.

HYMN

O God, Creator of heaven and earth:
as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb,
and rested on this holy Sabbath;
so may we await with him
the coming of the third day,
and rise with him to newness of life;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who now lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end. Amen

Welcome to Week Five/Day One: “My Hope is in the Lord…If You Kept ...

PSALM 130

My soul is waiting for you, O Lord.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!

My soul is waiting for you, O Lord.

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?

My soul is waiting for you, O Lord.

But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.

My soul is waiting for you, O Lord.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.

My soul is waiting for you, O Lord.

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.

My soul is waiting for you, O Lord.

It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.

My soul is waiting for you, O Lord.

HYMN

Who was Joseph of Arimathea in the Bible? - The Bible Answer

READING MATTHEW 27:57-66

The Burial of Jesus

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.  So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

The Guard at the Tomb

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.”  Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.

A REFLECTION WRITTEN BY BISHOP GORDON MURSELL

THE PASSION ACCORDING TO MATTHEW

JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb (Matthew 27:57-61).

You may know the old joke about how Joseph of Arimathea, having buried Jesus in his own tomb, goes home, only to be ticked off by his wife for having given up their precious family tomb to a complete stranger. “Well,” says Joseph, “he only wanted it for the weekend.” Which of course is true, although Joseph could hardly have been expected to know it at the time, even if he was a disciple. The fact that he “went away” when he had finished burying Jesus is in stark contrast to the two women, Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary”, who remained behind, keeping vigil.

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Matthew presents Joseph as a good and godly person, a follower of Jesus, who is presumably devastated by his death, and who resolves to do all he can to honour the man in whom he had placed so much hope. So he goes boldly to the Roman governor, gets permission to take the body of Jesus, and buries it in his own private tomb. Then he goes away. He has done all he can. There is nothing more to be said, or done.

But the women don’t go away. Like the mother of the sons of Zebedee, they were present at the cross, while all the male disciples had deserted him and fled (Matthew 26:56). They remain at the tomb after Joseph has left, although we are not told for how long, or why. Perhaps they were simply grieving; perhaps they were waiting to see what might happen next. Whatever the reason, they were still there.

The Silence of God – Reasoned Cases for Christ

One of the most striking features of the Passion according to Matthew is the silence of God. Jesus prays in Gethsemane; but he gets no answer. God is silent through the long hours of Jesus’ trial, and remains silent when Jesus cries out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Only after Jesus has died does God suddenly intervene, tearing the curtain in the temple in two, causing the earth to quake and the tombs of the dead to be broken open. Even then, God does not speak. But God’s silence is not the same as God’s absence.

There are many occasions in the lives of Christians, and of others too, when God is silent. No voice is heard bewailing the huge number of deaths caused by Covid-19. No word from heaven eased the terrible deaths of millions in the Nazi death camps. It is possible that we will one day go to our own deaths without a sign or sound from God. And on the first Good Friday, no miracle rescued Jesus from the hands of the Romans or the religious leaders. God was silent.

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But God was there, present in the dying agony of Jesus, present in the loving devotion of Joseph of Arimathea, present in the women who kept vigil. The story of Easter is for Sunday, not for today. But it is a story of a God who is present even when silent, who will keep us company to the last moment of our earthly lives and beyond, and whose risen Son will end Matthew’s Gospel with words of life-giving hope: “Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

HYMN

PRAYERS

“Just as I am, without one plea
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidst me to come to thee,
O Lamb of God I come.”

Lord Jesus, with the disciple you loved we see your cross,
we see you bow down your head and give up your spirit,
we see your side pierced,
we see the blood and the water flow.

Jesus Lamb of God, whose blood was shed for us,
cleanse us from our sin,
lift from us the burden of our guilt,
free us from the tyranny of evil.
Put to death in us, all that resists you.
Put behind us, all that hinders us from living for you.

Jesus, Rock of ages,
from whom the water of life flows
satisfy our thirst for true life,
nourish the shoots of new life in us,
fill us with your Spirit.

Jesus, Saviour of the world,
we see your power in your weakness,
your glory in your humiliation,
your sovereignty in your self- giving service,
your victory in your death.
Help us to recognise the power of truth and love,
Help us to acknowledge you as the only Lord.
Your kingdom come. Amen

HYMN

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BLESSING

May the Father,
who so loved the world that he gave his only Son
bring you by faith to his eternal life. Amen

May Christ,
who accepted the cup of sacrifice
in obedience to the Father’s will,
keep you steadfast as you walk with him the way of the cross. Amen

May the Spirit,
who strengthens you to suffer with Christ,
that you might share his glory,
set your mind on life and peace
and the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be with you today and always. Amen .