Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sabbatum Sanctum

La garde du Tombeau
(James Tissot)
The day between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection is known amongst many as Holy Saturday, the Sabbatum Sanctum of the title. Up until now, I had not known this.

As a matter of fact, I had not given this Saturday much thought at all.

There is scant reference to this day in the Bible. 1 Peter 3:19-20:
After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits - to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. (NIV)
Some religious authorities use this reference to argue that on the Saturday between His death and His resurrection, Jesus descended into either Limbo or Hell, depending on which sources you read. To save those who died prior to (and in) the Great Flood.

Like I mentioned, I had never given this much thought before. I'm not sure why.

I remember once, some years back, we had a pastor (a very good one) whose wife one day began to explain how Jesus went to Hell. You better believe that caused an eyebrow or two to be raised. In my on again, off again bouts with religion in the days of my youth, I had never heard that before.

Well, apparently this is referred to (again, by some) as "The Harrowing of Hell" -
The Harrowing of Hell is referred to in the Apostles' Creed and the Athanasian Creed (Quicumque vult) which state that Jesus Christ "descended into Hell". Christ having descended to the underworld is alluded to in the New Testament only in 1 Peter 3:19–20, which speaks of Jesus preaching to "the imprisoned spirits". Its near-absence in Scripture has given rise to controversy and differing interpretations.

According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, the story first appears clearly in the Gospel of Nicodemus in the section called the Acts of Pilate, which also appears separately at earlier dates within the Acts of Peter and Paul. The descent into hell had been related in Old English poems connected with the names of Caedmon and Cynewulf. It is subsequently repeated in Aelfric's homilies c. 1000 AD, which is the first known inclusion of the word "harrowing". Middle English dramatic literature contains the fullest and most dramatic development of the subject.
I am starting to get the idea that religion is complicated.

This day, some two thousand and some odd years ago, was no doubt a terrifying time for the Apostles and the other followers of Christ. The authorities had spoken and had spoken loudly indeed. They had put to death this Jesus.

Would they be coming for his chief lieutenants and followers next?

And what of Mary? She was no doubt in shock, mourning her son.

That particular Saturday would not have been an enjoyable day for many. For those who believed.

After doing some research, I see that there are many facets to this Saturday in the many Christian sects and branches of the world.

Yes, religion can be complex, confusing and confounding when you dig into it.

Faith, on the other hand, is simple.

I am content with my faith. So on this Saturday...

I wait.

For the Resurrection.

Every day...

I wait.

For Him to come again.

2 comments:

Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)