It struck me yesterday that we do not have a name for the Saturday of Easter.
That is a bit odd to me, because we have names for the rest of that week: Palm Sunday, Maunday Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday. But not Saturday.
It is true that of the days of Holy Week, it is the one we know the least about. “They rested according to the Sabbath” is what is written. But we can theorize from what we know, of course: His followers, being observant Jews, would have stayed wherever they were, perhaps not eating or at least not cooking one. They were most likely numb and filled with grief: their Master, the one whom they had thought to be the Messiah, was dead and in the tomb. Three years of following, the triumphal entry of Palm Sunday – all blown away on the winds of mob rule and Temple and Roman politics. And perhaps more than a hint of fear as well – the Temple guards that came for Jesus might come for them after the Sabbath and they knew all too well how that had ended.
We should also be less than honest to think that the Devil was also not hammering the disciples at this point (Should we be surprised? Does Satan not hammer us at our weak and low points as well?): All the feelings of human grief and sorrow and failure, compounded with the powers of Hell bearing down on them, mocking their faith and their decisions and hopes, showing them only a future of helplessness and hopelessness. “Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter” - and the Devil would chase Christ's followers to ground.
They did not know the ending at that point as we do of course: the stone rolling away, the empty tomb, the Angels, and the Resurrection of Christ. That was all invisible to them in the darkness of that Sabbath, a Sabbath (for tall intents and purposes) without any promise. And perhaps that is why ultimately the Church has never mentioned it beyond one of the three days of the tomb: it ill comports with the message of Easter.
But it seems to me that we do ourselves a disservice in failing to recognize it as part of the Easter experience itself.
We are quick to note the horror and seeming end at the Resurrection but without recalling that Saturday (the only twenty-four hour period of the three days) we minimize the lost condition of ourselves and all humanity. Because for that one full day, with the hours slowly sliding by in the silence of Sabbath, the disciples found themselves completely and utterly without hope.
Which makes the following day all the more remarkable.