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March 22, 2008
Saudade Saturday

The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday doesn't prompt much consideration. It's a nothing day, wedged between man's greatest shame and our greatest hope. To the people who had followed Jesus like fools through the land and across the water, it must have felt like the day after a funeral, when clouds continue to move across the sky, and birds continue to sing, and all creation pretends that something terrible has not happened. I wonder if they ate, and what they said to one another, if they spoke at all.

We Christians live in the nameless Saturday. We're told we'll be new creatures, but Sunday is not yet here, is it? If your heart yearns for anything — and to be alive on this earth is to yearn — then Sunday has not yet arrived. Every human on earth lives either in Friday, the day we spat in the face of salvation, or in Saturday, the long day of waiting for the end of this beginning.

It's strange that we haven't given it a name. The Portuguese might call it Saudade Saturday: the day when absence is present. Do you ever feel the presence of what is lost, or of what is to come? We are all of us either eating and drinking, pretending the sky has not grown black, or we are waiting. Sometimes we wait in despair, other times in hope, and probably most times feeling like those disciples, like fools, whispering to ourselves the serpent's question: did God really say?

I think it must be an important day. There was a purpose to Christ's dwelling in death, to the disciples' time in despair. There is a purpose, I think, to our suffering in this place that is not home. Maybe if we thought about it that way, the suffering would be more bearable, if not any more understandable. We live in Saturday, but we are not forgotten here. Sunday is coming, maybe sooner than we think.

Posted by Woodlief on March 22, 2008 at 02:49 PM


dear dear tony. thank you. i find myself ever between hateful friday and dreadful saturday. today is sunday. this post is helping me to appreciate the hope of it.


Posted by: karen at March 23, 2008 8:18 AM

Tony - Nice metaphorical extension of the days' themes. In the higher liturgical traditions (RCC, Anglican), Holy Saturday gets rich symbolic treatment: altar left stripped bare, statues covered, no receiving the Eucharist (except for those near death), no Mass until the Vigil starts after sundown. Many traditionalists do a full day of fasting. Some churches have services honoring family and faithful who have died. On a purely personal note, I think Holy Saturday is an anchor in reality - we've seen the darkness, and in some cases it is US; we hope for resurrection, but sadness, despair, frustration seem to be the order of the day. And, perhaps, it is an anchor against (maybe anchor is too strong) heresy: take away Christmas (an impossible miracle), Good Friday (cosmic child abuse and unnecessary), and Easter Sunday (another impossible miracle) - still Holy Saturday is inescapable, an awareness of being separated personally from the Good and a desire to become one, or the awareness of pain and suffering and the desire to see it serve a higher purpose and finally end. God bless.

Posted by: TWilson at March 24, 2008 10:17 AM

Simply beautiful. The lord sent me here today to read this, I believe. My Saturday has continued for years but I know my Sunday will come!

Posted by: Mandy at March 28, 2008 8:58 AM

Amen to all the above.

Posted by: Lenise at March 29, 2008 1:07 PM

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