My personal tradition is to read from the Daily Office from the Book of Common Prayer. On Holy Saturday, at first glance, hope and light are hard to find. So many live in this condition for too long and too deeply.
Psalm 88: 11-13 reads, Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon? Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your saving help in the land of forgetfulness? But I, O Lord, cry out to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
In considering our Lord in the grave, is steadfast love and faithfulness visible or near when death appears to have won? Is love and faithfulness still strong and eternal when prayers are silent and tears flow? Oh, don’t despair! The tears are fine. The frustration is real. Its best when none of this is denied. But, pray in the morning. Our prayers come to the one who is near. Our cries are heard by the one who is loving regardless and always faithful. Oh, even when his very son is cold in the grave.
I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit; you heard my plea, “Do not close your ear to my cry for help, but give me relief!” You came near when I called on you; you said, “Do not fear!” — Lamentations 3: 55-57
There’s something important in our relationship with God from scriptures like these. In the darkness and deep places of despair when cries are uttered and heads are bowed, we encounter our good, good Father like nowhere else. His embrace in these places and times is not like when we encounter him in joyous worship or in moments of salvation. Our faithful Daddy God comes near and says even in darkness and even in pits, “Do not fear!”
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. — Hebrews 4: 15-16
He knows what it is to experience weakness and testing and struggles. He didn’t sin. Now, we can approach the place of grace in our hearts and minds while remaining in darkness. Our faithful high priest welcomes us into the holy place, and his grace and mercy are ours. In the darkness we cry out. He is near. Grace and mercy are close. He is faithful and always good. Darkness is real. So is the goodness and nearness of our Lord.
I may not reflect on Daily Office readings everyday. In fact, I may not write everyday. Regardless, I know his steadfast love and faithfulness covers us. Alleluia.