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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Saturday, April 3

But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said." So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."”
—Matthew 28:5, 8-9

Holy Saturday

In Christian churches, today is Holy Saturday. It is, of course, the day after Good Friday and the day before Easter. I imagine that many of you, like me, have traditionally gone to church on Easter Sunday to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. 

I still do that, but now I also attend what I consider one of the most meaningful worship services of the year, the Easter Vigil.

At dusk on Holy Saturday, we gather outside the darkened church and then enter the building led by a deacon carrying the paschal candle. We take our places in the church and listen to Scripture lessons from Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zephaniah, and at least four Psalms. These lessons trace our history as God’s people.

There are baptisms, a sermon, and then suddenly the lights go on, the organist plays a fanfare, and we all sing, “He is risen, He is risen!” In our church, the ushers distribute noise-makers to everyone, and we have a real celebration. Then we have the most important celebration of all, sharing the Lord’s Supper in the Holy Eucharist.

What we celebrate, of course, is not only Jesus’ resurrection, but also the promise God makes that out of our darkness new life will come. That is the message of Easter. To me, that is why Jesus says, “"Do not be afraid."

These are words Jesus repeated over and over while he walked the earth. He continues to say them to us as we walk through our lives today, particularly when we are in deep darkness. Do not be afraid; new life awaits you.

Thanks be to God! Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2005.