Rim: Cocoa Bitters and 1/8-1/4 tsp each of Salt, Smoked Paprika, Cayenne Pepper based on spice preference.
Wet the rim of your coupe or martini glass with cocoa bitters and dip it in the spice mix to coat. Place in freezer to chill. Shake all other ingredients (except Angostura) with ice and fine strain into the chilled glass. In the foam of the drink, add 4-5 drops of Angostura bitters and use a toothpick to “draw” them into the shape of a cross.
It’s Holy Saturday, the final day of Lent. During this past Holy Week, I’ve needed to find various ways to say “man, a lot happened on this day”. Not so today. Here is the entirety of what the Bible says about Jesus and his disciples this day:
On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment. (Lk 23:56b)
That’s it. This vacuum has invited a lot of theological speculation on just what might have been happening in the time between Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Most of Christian history has answered this question with some version of what’s called “The Harrowing of Hell“, based largely on an odd verse in 1 Peter 4 about Jesus preaching the gospel “even to the dead” and captured in the Apostle’s Creed when it says Jesus “descended to the dead”.
Different versions are more or less literal about it, but at the very least, this means that whatever “hell” is, Jesus endured it on behalf of those who never will. And in so doing it, he conquered it in some way, de-fanging it of its power and authority. He harrowed it, razed it–overcame it.
Here is the prayer, reflection, and practice I led for Holy Saturday for my church. We have been doing videos for each day of Holy Week, going through our prayerbook liturgy for the day and offering some personal reflections. You can also find the audio version on our podcast.
From an Easter sermon Melito of Sardis, 2nd-century
But he rose from the dead
and mounted up to the heights of heaven.
When the Lord had clothed himself with humanity,
and had suffered for the sake of the sufferer,
and had been bound for the sake of the imprisoned,
and had been judged for the sake of the condemned,
and buried for the sake of the one who was buried,
he rose up from the dead,
and cried with a loud voice:
“Who is he that contends with me?
Let him stand in opposition to me.
I set the condemned man free.
I gave the dead man life;
I raised up the one who had been entombed.
Who is my opponent?”
“I,” he says, “am the Christ.
I am the one who destroyed death,
and triumphed over the enemy,
and trampled Hades underfoot,
and bound the strong one,
and carried off man
to the heights of heaven.”
On the seventh day God rested
in the darkness of the tomb;
Having finished on the sixth day
all his work of joy and doom.
Now the Word had fallen silent,
and the water had run dry,
The bread had all been broken,
and the light had left the sky;
The flock had lost its shepherd,
and the seed was sadly sown,
The courtiers had betrayed their king,
and nailed him to his throne.
O sabbath rest by Calvary,
O calm of tomb below,
Where the grave-clothes and the spices
cradle him we did not know!
Rest you well, beloved Jesus:
Caesar’s Lord and Israel’s King,
In the brooding of the Spirit,
in the darkness of the spring.
Holy Saturday: a day between the ages; a day of mystery, of unspeaking, of undoing, of unknowing.
Scripture Reading: everything the gospels say was happening on this day
The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.
On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment.
The culmination of Lent is Holy Weekend, prefaced by Maundy Thursday and consisting of Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. I realized that each year that I have been really intentional about my Lenten engagement, one of those four “Holy Days” seems to overshadow the the others and carry over into this Easter season (yes, it’s a season).
There are some years where the foreshadowing and ever-repeating Presence of Jesus in Communion makes Maundy Thursday the highlight (or lowlight?) of Lent. Some years, the utter darkness, weight, and drama of Good Friday overtake me and linger in my mind well into Easter season. And still others, no matter how I try to reflect and meditate on sinfulness and fallenness, I still can’t escape the lighted joy and horizon-cresting dawn of Easter, whose anticipation overshadows (or over-brightens?) my Lenten experience, making all the doom and gloom seem foreign to me.
On the 1st Day: God created Palm Trees and Donkeys
On the 2nd Day: He created Fig Trees and Temples
On the 3rd Day: He created Scribes and Pharisees
On the 4th Day: He created Silver and Kisses
On the 5th Day: He created Bread, Wine, and Gardens
On the 6th Day: He created a Tree, Nails, and Thorns
And on the 7th Day: God rested from His labor.
And there was evening
And there was mourning…
[read my other Holy Day poetry here] all writings licensed:
Almighty Father, who gave your only Son to die for our sins and to rise for our justiﬁcation: Give us grace so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (from the liberti Lent & Easter 2012 prayerbook & the Book of Common Prayer)
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (from the liberti Lent & Easter 2012 prayerbook & the Book of Common Prayer)
O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (from the liberti Lent & Easter 2012 prayerbook & the Book of Common Prayer)
O God, who by the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light: Grant that we, who have been raised with him, may abide in his presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be dominion and praise for ever and ever. Amen. (from the liberti Lent & Easter 2012 prayerbook & the Book of Common Prayer)
Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that we who celebrate with awe the Paschal feast may be found worthy to attain to everlasting joys; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (from the liberti Lent & Easter 2012 prayerbook & the Book of Common Prayer)
Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life- giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (from the liberti Lent & Easter 2012 prayerbook & the Book of Common Prayer)