During Holy Week, much is made of the days leading up to Easter. First was Maundy Thursday, the day when Jesus celebrated the Last Supper, then was ratted out by Judas at the after-party. Yesterday was Good Friday, though Christ Himself would probably choose a different adjective than “good,” since it marks the day He was crucified (for example, “Bad Friday” or “Painful Friday” both seem more accurate). Sunday is Easter itself, the day Jesus rose from the dead and was presented with a beautiful ham.
But today, sometimes referred to as “Holy Saturday” or “Silent Saturday” on the liturgical calendar, plays a much smaller role in Resurrection Weekend. There are no special church services, no ceremonial waving of palms or schlepping of crosses. It’s just a plain old Saturday, plenty good enough for the rest of us to spend in relaxation, and not that big a deal to those who celebrate the life, death and rebirth of our Lord and Savior.
Little is known of how Jesus Himself spent that solemn day almost two millennia ago. It’s generally thought that He mostly just lay around, recovering from one of the worst weeks anyone ever suffered, including that one you had in February where not one, not two, but three PowerPoint presentations were due on the boss’s desk by close of business Friday. Traditionally, it’s believed that Christ’s actual reanimation took place Sunday morning shortly before the angels rolled the stone away from the grave. It’s entirely possible, however, that it occurred much earlier, and that Jesus had a whole day to kill on Saturday while waiting for the dramatic Easter morning reveal.
Think about it: if you just moved into a new place, you’d be using your first day off to spruce it up bit, do some cleaning and some chores, and find a little time to absorb the ambience of what has become your home. Maybe the tomb had a little-used back door that allowed Jesus to freely come and go for a day before inviting his friends over to the house-warming bash on Sunday.
Some historians are now ready to speculate how the founder of the world’s one true religion spent his Holy Saturday:
9 a.m. — Wakes up late, hoping that a good night’s sleep will ease the pain of one of the worst methods of execution known to mankind.
9:15 a.m. — Slips out to nearby Panera for coffee and a cinnamon crunch bagel. Hasn’t unpacked His laptop yet so He has to get His news the old-fashioned way, by picking up a newspaper (lead story: “Son of God Executed”; second lead: “Idol Castoff is Gay”). Spends a leisurely hour sipping free refills of the dark roast blend, and wondering why they gave Him a fork with His bagel.
10:15 a.m. — Swings by Home Depot to pick up some grass seed and fertilizer for a little lawn work He wants to do later in the afternoon.
10:30 a.m. — After returning to the crypt, Christ starts tackling the “honey-do” list of chores around the house. Since He’s not married, the existence of the list is itself something of a miracle, and the scrap of paper is now enshrined at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It’s believed the hand of the Lord Himself crossed off “fix hinge on sunroom door,” “replace porch light” and “heal dishwasher.” One chore is sadly left unmarked: “Make sure followers don’t kill others in My name.”
12:15 p.m. — Grabs a quick lunch at Arby’s drive-thru and says “hi” to Dad who’s working there at His part-time retirement job. Orders the junior roast beef sandwich from dollar-menu but has to get the barbecue sauce because He gets embarrassed asking for His real favorite, the “horsey sauce.”
1 p.m. — Back at home, which He now thinks of by the nickname “The Sepulcher” or maybe “The Sep,” it’s time to pay a few bills. Jesus has refrained from using online banking and still writes checks and drops them in the mail. Just as He wanted to mingle with the lepers and the prostitutes, He also likes to keep a personal touch in dealing with the bankers and the utility company.
1:30 p.m. — Lies down for a quick nap but wakes up after only half an hour when His cat tries to sleep on His chest.
2 p.m. — Walks over to the Golgotha Driving Range to hit a bucket of balls. Considers trying to get in a quick nine but remembers He’s got to get that grass seed down before it germinates in His shed.
2:45 p.m. — Begins yard work but finds it tough going in the sandy soil of the Negev Desert. Manages to scrape clear a small patch and get it sufficiently watered to possibly grow a little fescue, though He’s concerned the spot He’s picked won’t get enough sun in the shade of an olive tree. After sweating away for almost two hours, finally gives in and waves His mighty hand across the land, miraculously creating a lush garden complete with perennials, which shouldn’t take as much work as those damn annuals He had back in Nazareth.
5 p.m. — Time to fire up the grill for some hamburgers and corn on the cob. He’s dying for a Yeungling but knows, according to the laws of the scripture, that He must drink wine instead, though even the prophets would have to admit that it’s not as refreshing as a cold beer.
6:30 p.m. — Resists the “great temptation of Christ” — to turn in early — and decides instead to catch a movie over in the Gethsemane Mall. Though He’s already seen it four times, Jesus again chooses to watch “Avatar,” because James Cameron reminds Him so much of Himself, and because He thinks He looks cool in 3-D glasses.
9:15 p.m. — Makes a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up some Peeps for the nephews He suspects will be dropping by tomorrow. Ends up filling a whole shopping cart full of chocolate rabbits, robin’s eggs, jelly beans and other junk, most of which He proceeds to eat while watching Lawrence Welk reruns on PBS.
10:45 p.m. — Falls asleep on couch even though sugar rush haunts His dreams all night, and gives him the wacky idea of ascending into Heaven before a gathering of believers. Thinks He might just be able to pull it off if He can spend the next 40 days being nice to that friend who owns a jet-pack.