Saturday, March 26, 2016

Holy Saturday

Job 14:1-14

or Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24

1 Peter 4:1-8

Matthew 27:57-66

or John 19:38-42

Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16

Although there are assigned readings from the Revised Common Lectionary for this day, the accepted Lutheran practice is to observe the Vigil of Easter. There are 14 readings for this liturgy, which, if you really want to know what they are, you can access by clicking HERE.

(The assigned RCL readings listed above are accessible by clicking on today’s date.)

What I share with you today comes from a Holy Saturday homily written in Greek dating back to the fourth century. The author of this text is unknown. I didn’t get this posted earlier in the day due to a funeral, but it is still worth the read.

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The Lord’s descent into hell

“What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.

Harrowing of hell. Christ leads Adam by the hand. (c. 1504) -- National Library of Wales
Harrowing of hell. Christ leads Adam by the hand. (c. 1504) — National Library of Wales

Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; he wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, he who is God, and Adam’s son.

The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, his cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: ‘My Lord be with you all.’ And Christ in reply says to Adam: ‘And with your spirit.’ And grasping his hand he raises him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.

‘I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison: Come forth, and those in darkness: Have light, and those who sleep: Rise.

‘I command you: Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.


Published by pastorallende

Retired Bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Social justice and immigration reform advocate. Micah 6:8. Fluent in English and Spanish. I enjoy music and sports.

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