The sun shuffles its westerly way and another day departs.
Yet Holy Saturday is what puts the "and" into "cross and resurrection". Without this day of rest, this day of regret and grief, then the story would jump straight from death to new life in a way that may confuse the two. Without Holy Saturday, we may be tempted to think of the resurrection as the secret meaning of the cross, of death being but a door to a better life, of the purpose of life being escape from this vale of tears, of the soul as trapped by the body's prison. We may leap directly from Calvary to the burning hearts within the disciples and conclude that the resurrection is a metaphor for their inner renewal in the face of death, a new liveliness of fellowship and encouragement as they remember the one whose presence and words had touched them so deeply and wonder at the mysterious fact that his death did not erase their appreciation of him after all. Or we may surmise that the departing spirit of Christ took with him the relevance of the man Jesus, left behind his body and earthly identity as a mere cypher, the abandoned vessel through which the divine Logos had communicated with humanity. Without Holy Saturday, Christianity threatens to become some version of Gnosticism.
But Holy Saturday is good news. Its very gloom is an assurance that despair need not be reconciled with decay, that death need not be interpreted as a secret friend, that perseverance is not futile stubbornness but has instead grasped hold of one of the deepest and strongest threads in existence: the faithfulness of God to his creation. It is a dark and dreary day, not to be prematurely disturbed by rumours of an as yet incomplete renewal.
So do not banish the doom from this day, for it is what holds open the space between cross and resurrection, gives the momentary pause that lets us distinguish the two, a holy hiatus in which despair is at home and hope impossible.
Only on a Holy Saturday can the God of impossible possibilities be properly worshipped.