Meditation 13: Psalm 31.1-4, 15-16 (Holy Saturday)

In you, O Lord, I seek refuge;
do not let me ever be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me.

Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily.
Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me.

You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.

My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.

Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your steadfast love.

Psalm 31.1-4, 15-16

What words can possibly accompany the desolation we feel today?

Jesus is dead!

We saw him die the death of common criminal, hanging on a cross, and we saw a faithful few take his broken body and lay it in a tomb.

In fleeting moments we may remember his words about ‘rising again on the third day’, but surely that just beautiful imagery.

We remember seeing Jesus restore life to his friend Lazarus, but now the miracle worker himself is dead.

And yet, as we have followed Jesus’ earthly ministry, we have constantly heard his message of hope, his message of new life!

Today’s verses from Psalm 31 encourage us to hold firm in this darkest and most desolate of times.

As Jesus hung on the cross he cried out to God in the words of Psalm 22; today we also seek divine assistance, but in the words of Psalm 31.

This is a psalm through which we can prayerfully re-affirm our belief that, despite the horror of Good Friday, we are confident in God’s power to lead, guide and rescue.

Psalm 31 open in a spirit of lament… in these words the psalmist expresses grief, sighing, affliction, reproach and dread, all of the negative emotions that dominate our thinking when we ponder the reality of the crucifixion.

But… Psalm 31 does not leave us in that dark place.

From desolation and despair, the psalmist refocuses our thoughts; the negativity of the doubt engendered by what we have witnessed with our human eyes is turned back to the positivity of trust and rescue.

Holy Saturday is a desolate and empty day: Jesus is dead and buried.

Traditionally, there is no celebration of Christ’s presence on this day but, of course, we know that the story is not over.

Soon will come the Vigil that ends our remembrance of Christ’s last three days of human incarnation.

Today’s psalm encourages us to hold firm… there really is a joyful ending just around the corner.