The Darkness of Holy Saturday, the light of a garden, and a train station

Logan Trading Company
Logan Trading Company

Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water, shining like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb through the middle of the city’s main street. On each side of the river is the tree of life, which produces twelve crops of fruit, bearing its fruit each month. The tree’s leaves are for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse. (Revelation 22:1-3a)

Easter Saturday is a curious 24 hours. We’ve celebrated The Last Supper; we’ve attended Good Friday observances; we’re gearing up for Easter. So what to do with today?

Often, this day is an opportunity for festive Easter-egg hunts, or family gatherings, or community-wide spring celebrations.

But for the disciples, waking up to cold reality the day after their leader and friend had been brutally tortured and killed, Saturday must have been the longest, saddest, most hopeless day of them all.

Think about it:

  • Would you have been counting down the hours till Sunday morning, confident that Jesus would conquer death, roll back the stone, and literally rock the world with the dynamic power of his life-generating love?
  • Would you have been camped out near the Garden Tomb, arriving well before dawn, sitting on folding chairs, sipping on Starbucks and waiting for the big moment?

No, of course not. Each one of us would have been defeated, downcast, ashen, depressed; running the scenarios through our minds and wondering how those last days could have played out differently, wondering how to even get through today, wondering why The Master had to die…

Probably never even thinking about his words promising to “destroy this temple and rebuild it in three days;” probably miles away from putting together the hints, and the prophesies, and the overwhelming fact that the Lord was more than just a bearer of light and life – but that he was light and life itself…

Resurrection wasn’t even imagined. What the disciples were concerned about was putting their lives back together – but even that probably took too much creative imagination. They just wanted to get through today; and they were already overwhelmed by the knowledge that each day to come was going to be a long haul too.

IMG_2948GARDEN: So Rebekah and I try to acknowledge the darkness of Holy Saturday, and one of our favorite interventions is to do something garden related. Because a garden represents life; new life; creative life; regeneration; new creation.

The narrative of the Bible begins in a garden, it reaches its ultimate tipping point in a garden, and it concludes with the river of life flowing through a garden laden with fruit trees and healing leaves.

This year we headed downtown Raleigh, to our favorite garden center. The Logan Trading Company is built in and around an old railroad station; there couldn’t be a cooler location. We purchased bird-feeders, and we put together the raw materials for “Derek’s Herb Garden.” It’s going to be a great, creative project.

IMG_2954Following Jewish burial customs, they took Jesus’ body and wrapped it, with the spices, in linen cloths. There was a garden in the place where Jesus was crucified, and in the garden was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish Preparation Day and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus in it (John 19:40-42).

In the knowledge of the truth of light, life, resurrection, and recreation – while acknowledging a hint of the memory of darkness that shadows this day – DEREK




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