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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

Holy Week Prayers: Saturdays of Doubt and Fear

jenmichel@me.com

Passage for Reflection: John 19:16-42; Luke 24:13-27 Father in heaven,

You are a promise-keeping God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Through him, You promised that all of the nations of the earth would be blessed. How is it that You incline Yourself to generosity so abundant and free? We know that there is no one among us who deserves anything beyond Your severe judgment, and yet through the Scriptures, You reveal Yourself as a God looking for every opportunity to bless and to forgive. You are the God who saves Nineveh, the God who redeems Israel, and the One who sends His Son to renew all of creation.

You attend to the details of all You've ever spoken and promised. You brought your Son into the world through a virgin. Born in Bethlehem, he would flee to Egypt and eventually settle in Nazareth. He who proclaimed good news to the poor and liberty to the captives, who gave sight to the blind and set at liberty those who were oppressed, He was the announcement of Your Jubilee! How good His coming and how right the way in which He came, stepping into the shoes of promise.

But the Scriptures predicted for Him promises that were also cruel. His would be a violent death, and He would face unimaginable suffering. Numbered among the transgressors, a man despised and rejected, Jesus was betrayed by a friend and executed like a criminal. The soldiers would gamble for his tunic. From the cross, He would grow thirsty. And when His breath was finally no more, a sword would pierce His side.

This story was written before the dawn of time.

Today is the day of our silence: we have witnessed the crucifixion and shouldered its perplexity. The disciples long ago struggled to make sense of if all. And there are so many times in our life, Great God, when we stand in our own gap of confusion - between Friday and Sunday, between death and resurrection, between dashed hopes and answered prayers. We do not bear our doubts well, and we are easily made afraid.

The gospel writers make the story all too easy for us. With a little bit of hindsight and on the other side of Easter, they were able to piece together what You had been doing all along. They were able to say with confidence how, even in the Cross, it had been Your purpose to fulfill the Scriptures. But they say nothing about the Saturday of our doubts and fears, the Saturday of our almost giving up and giving in. We only have glimpses of disciples convening behind locked doors, cowering and confused.

Great God of mercy, Great God of promise, grant us faith to look ahead when we find ourselves in the midst of Saturday, the day of our confusion and fear. We are blind Bartimaeus, groping in the dark, unable to find the light of Your goodness. Help us to believe that resurrection is coming, that hope will be renewed, that all of Your promises will find their YES in Jesus. Intercede for us, dear Jesus, as you did for Peter: You prayed that his faith would not fail him. Strengthen in us the kind of faith that holds on between Friday and Sunday. By Your mercy, grant us faith and hope for our Saturdays.