Worship Materials: Holy Saturday

From the Festive Worship collection

THEME: Life-giving Sabbath – Time of Silent Wrestling

Despite the fact that Holy Saturday is not a major Christian festival it is included here because psychologically there is no Easter without making one’s peace with the dead and with the forces of destruction that lurk within the human psyche, our inner “Hades”, our inner “hell”. So Christ’s “descent into Hell” in the Apostles’ Creed can be interpreted as referring to a mythological reality rather than an historical one.

  1. Resting in expectation is a source of new life
  2. In the darkness lie the seeds of Resurrection
  3. Without the opposites there is no wholeness; without the pieces there is no completion.
  4. In the place of oneness there is a friend in each enemy and an enemy in each friend for nothing is as simple as it seems.
  5. When we pray for the enemy, both within and outside, the aura of love radiates.
  6. In the empty space lies the whole of our inner humanity, the seething mass of human kind.
  7. The purity that has no place for impurity produces a smiling mask and not a true compassion.
  8. Compassion holds all the opposites together in love, transforming without destroying, encouraging without condemning, so that all the outcasts feel at home.
  9. It is not that our Esau should become a Jacob or visa versa but that both should live in harmony in a dynamic pluralism. (Genesis 27)
  10. We would prefer to believe that our inner Cain the destroyer had died but he still lives on needing to be transformed and not denied; for without destruction there is no life and everything has two faces. (Genesis 4)
  11. I reflect on emptiness and find fullness.
    I immerse myself in silence and hear singing.
    I surround myself with stillness and my spirit dances.
    As the Cosmos emerged from darkness so each of us have emerged from a darkened womb. So it can be said that darkness is our primal home.


  1. O God of the darkness which births the light may your inner fire within us flare forth like a miniature birthing of the Cosmos.
  2. O God who is both the darkness and the light may we honour them both and with courage venture into that space within our psyche where opposites dwell and perceive them all as essential parts of the fire that is within our spirits and throughout the Cosmos.


From Good Friday’s gruesome darkness. (BL)

In between the Cross and Rising. (BL)

We are always part of the other. (BL)

Behind the world of images. (BL)

We sing of the darkness. (BL)

“Weep not, weep not for me”. (BL)
Darkness is my mother.



Christ’s tomb was a place of darkness.

In the world of Western dualistic thought

Darkness is the enemy of light,

The enemy of life,

The abode of fear,

Of death

And of destruction.

But without darkness

There would be no exposure to the light.

It was out of the familiar darkness of the womb

That we all came to be surprised by the light,

Moving from all-embracing security

To the unfamiliar and threatening world of light.

It was out of the darkness

That the Cosmos emerged

In a burst of fiery flaring forth.

And it is the darkness of dark matter

And dark energy

That seems to hold the Cosmos together.

So, let us celebrate the darkness

Acknowledging it as our primal mother

And be open to that greater part

Of the wisdom of God

Which only comes in the sacred mysteriousness

Of allowing ourselves to be encompassed by the dark.


Action and Reflection are like Siamese twins. Neither can operate completely beneficially without the other. Sometimes we have to act instinctively and immediately but that action should be drawing on our wisdom’s well.

Action severed from reflection can lead to foolishness at best and disaster at worst. Its success is a matter of luck. Reflection without action can result in an ego-centric withdrawal from the world which corrupts the spirit and is of little relevance to other human beings.


While our daytime experience is that light produces sight and darkness produces blindness, the reverse can be true at night. The further one moves away from the nightlight of cities the clearer becomes the image of our galactic home, the Milky Way. Night’s darkness enables us to obtain a vastly larger and more far-reaching picture than daylight can ever reveal.

And so it is with our bodies and our psyche. What the light of day reveals to our surface inspection is a total over-simplification. Hidden beneath what can at times be the calm exterior of our bodies is a dancing, atomic realm. As far as our psyche is concerned preoccupation with the healing and destructive activities of our surface self can obscure the wonder of our most loveable centre whose complexity reflects that of the Cosmos.

Of even more significance is that when we dare to expose our spirits to the darkness of Divine Mystery, we discover a wholeness beyond the realm of sight and understanding, for it is the inner eye rather than the outer one which has the power to transform us.

  1. How are we to re-interpret the biblical claim that there is no darkness in God since astronomers have now confirmed that 70% of the universe is composed of dark energy, 25% of dark matter and only 5% of that form of matter which we regard as ‘normal’.
    If this darkness is not part of God we cannot claim that God is the creator and sustainer of all. (Reference: Dark Energy, Dark Matter – NASA Science)


  1. There are no images in the darkness, yet it is out of a mind swept clean of images that new images emerge. What steps can we take to embrace the darkness in our services of worship and in our times of reflection?
    How can we pay more attention to and learn from the sometimes confusing images that appear in our dreams? Perhaps we need to affirm the value of the dreamer and dreaming rather than to label them as impractical, useless and a threat. Remember that the Joseph who in Genesis 37/19 was sarcastically described by his brothers in the phrase “Behold the dreamer cometh” was the same Joseph who saved them from starvation. Should we include the dreamers in the list of people for whom we give thanks?


Text and image © William Livingstone Wallace but available for free use.

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