It's NOT Easter Saturday!

Here we sit, on the Saturday prior to Easter. Despite what the advertisements in the weekend paper tell you, this is not Easter Saturday. Easter has not yet arrived. Easter Saturday will be in one week, the last day of the week that begins on Easter Sunday.

Today is also not "pre-Easter," or the Easter pre-game show. For many of us - inside the church and out - today is primarily about preparation. Getting the celebration of Easter started right. Make sure the ham is thawed. Do we have all candy we need? And of course, we who work in the church are not exempt from this. Are the lilies all in the right place? Are the liturgies prepared and the anthems rehearsed?

For many of us today, our thoughts and energy are already on Sunday. Christ has been raised.

But today is NOT Easter Saturday. Today is Holy Saturday, Black Saturday, the Great Sabbath. As Jesus disciples experienced it, this was the day without hope. The day that they spent hiding behind locked doors - afraid for their lives, and grieving the loss of their friend and the end of their ministry. As we hurry on to the joy of Easter, we miss the importance of this day.

Holy Saturday speaks to many of us in this life. It is about those who see no hope for the future. It is about those times when it feels like everything is lost. It is about the moment in life where the joy of Easter seems to be out of reach.

How many of us have been there at some point in our lives? How many people in our world experience most of their lives that way?

You probably have some Easter preparations you have to do today. I know that I do. But in the midst of those busy preparations, stop. Pray for those who see no hope in life. Pray for those who live in a Black Saturday world. Pray for those struggling to find meaning in life. Pray for those who are so occupied with the struggles of life - with financial hardship, with hunger, with illness of body and mind - that they do not have time to stop for a Sabbath. Pray for those who cannot see resurrection in their lives. Pray for our Lord Jesus, as he battles with death on this day.

Remember that on this day, our Lord rested in the tomb. And join your local congregation as they go to visit that tomb tonight or tomorrow morning in the Easter Vigil.