Holy Saturday

December 11th, 2012

"On Holy Saturday, the church continues in prayer, waiting with the women at the Lord's tomb. The meditation continues to focus on the themes of redemptive suffering and death. Good Friday and Holy Saturday are traditional days of fasting. The whole church may be invited to fast along with those on prayer vigil or on retreat during this period. Historically, these hours were the last period of intensive preparation for those persons who were to be baptized at the first Easter service - in ancient times, always the great Easter Vigil. There should be periods of common prayer and reflection on scripture, with times for personal solitude throughout the day." From The New Handbook of the Christian Year, Hickman, Saliers, Stookey, and White, pp. 190-191.

If this service is used as a meditation service, have the readings available for people as they enter to read and to pray. Candles may be lighted at the discretion of the worshiper. Music may be played during the meditation time. It should be very somber and quiet. This time of meditation is not for proclamation or preaching, it is for prayer. Because of the time needed by most churches to prepare the worship area for Easter, it is recommended that this service be held at noon on Saturday, and the sanctuary should be available, uninterrupted for about one hour. The time for meditation will need to be made known to the worshiping community and also by a sign placed on the door of the sanctuary. If flowers are being delivered to the church for Easter worship, arrange to have them brought later in the day if possible, or earlier than the meditation service - in which case they should not be put in the sanctuary until after the meditation time is over]


The worship area is completely bare with the exception of the black cloth which lies draped and puddled over the worship center and on the floor in front. All other visual elements are removed in preparation for Easter. The following is a service of prayer and meditation to be held on Holy Saturday, early in the day.


(Instrumental only) UMH 286 "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" listen
UMH 287 "O Love Divine, What Hast Thou Done" listen
UMH 289 "Ah, Holy Jesus" listen

Words of Gathering:

L:Come this day and open your hearts. Wait for the Lord.
P: We come from the darkness of loss and await God's word for us.
L: There is time. The Word will be given.
P: We will wait and pray.

Solo "How Long, O Lord" from THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2209.

Reading: Job 14: 1-14

Congregational Response: "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind" UMH 358, verse 1

Reading: Psalm 130

Unison Prayer:

Lord, who sits with us in darkness and weeps with us, be present now and make your presence know. Our souls ache for Christ. We fear the darkness and the loneliness. We don't know what to do. There are so many times, in the midst of bright sunshine, that we have darkened our souls toward you, not heeding your word, but acting in ways that hurt and alienate others. Jesus came that we might understand the ways you want us to live. We have heard his words, seen the miracles, rejoiced at the healing; but we have chosen to believe those things are story and not truth. How foolish we are, Lord! Soften our hearts. Shine the light of your love into our lives once more. Forgive and heal us, we pray. AMEN.

Reading: Psalm 31: 1-5

Song: "O God, Our Help in Ages Past" UMH p. 117 verses 1 & 2


Reading: 1 Peter 4: 1-8

Song: "How Can We Sinners Know" UMH p. 372, verses 1 & 2

Reading: Matthew 27: 57-66

Song: "Jesus, Remember Me" UMH p. 488 (Sing 3 times through)

When the disciples were distraught and wanted to know how to pray, Jesus taught them to pray saying these words:

Congregation: Lord's Prayer / Our Father


He Is Not Here

The darkness of Saturday resides in our souls. Outside the sun may be shining, people may be going about their business; but we cannot forget what happened last night, how he cried from the Cross, his last words "It is finished" and "Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit."

No amount of noise, color, busyness can erase the darkness.

He is not here. He is not sitting with us, walking with us, comforting with us. We are alone. And we wait. For what we are not sure.....for some sign of hope, some sign of life, some miracle that will mend our brokenness and bind up out wounded spirits.

He is not here. And we are frightened. We could count on him being present. What are we to do in this world without Jesus. Our souls are utterly bereft. Lord, God, where are you? Where is the hope? Come to us. Come, now......please.

He is not here. And we wait.

Song: "Beneath the Cross of Jesus" UMH 297

Benediction: Go now in peace. God's peace will be with you. AMEN.

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