By Stony Paths: Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday's Script

Welcome to ‘By Stony Paths, following the way of the Cross. Using scripture, symbols and time for reflection as we journey with Jesus through Holy Week. 

Today is Holy Saturday and our gospel reading is John 2.18-21 where Jesus, having cleansed the temple, says ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days…’

The symbol to go alongside your stone is an empty glass or bowl

We take time to settle, to relax, and to centre into the holding presence of God. 

So pick up your stone and hold it in your hands.

Settle into your chair, get comfortable, take a couple of deeper breaths and let your body relax and be at ease.

Let your eyes close, and pay attention to the weight of the stone in your hands. In your awareness of holding it, let yourself sense God’s holding of you.

As you relax into this space, let yourself be aware of the journey you have had with this stone this week. Remembering the start on Palm Sunday, and the ups and downs since.

Let come to mind the journey of your life – and that God has been holding you through it all through the times you have known, and not known.

Rest now in God’s holding.

Pray now for your presence to God in this time, that as you seek to be present to Jesus in the tomb, you may be enabled to stay with him.

Reading: John 2.18-21


In your minds eye, let yourself come to the tomb. 

Notice the rock closing its entrance, solid.

Remember the events of yesterday – Jesus’ trial, crucifixion, death, burial

There’s no going back to change them. 

Notice how this feels. 

Take up your empty glass or bowl, ponder its emptiness – let it hold the sense of absence of Jesus as a result of yesterday. 

Notice any impulses, reaction in yourself towards this emptiness.

Look back at your own life and times you have faced a finality. It might have been a death, it might have been the end of a relationship, or an unchosen ending to an aspect of life, of ill-health.

Let your glass or bowl hold that emptiness from your personal losses. 

In the sharpness of such endings, we can feel the aching desire to turn the clock back, to go back to before it all happened, to live as if it never was.

We can sometimes have the impulse, to go charging on to the next thing, move on, escape the loss, the pain, the discomfort, by filling life with something else. 

On Holy Saturday, we are invited, challenged perhaps to do neither. Instead to stay, to be, to wait…

Perhaps this is part of what the restrictions on life brought by the covid 19 pandemic are facing us with too. 

Can we let ourselves just be, not knowing when this will end, not knowing what normality of life might be.

Can we be in it, present waiting…

In Holy Saturday, we sit in the rawness of it all – we do nothing, there’s nothing we can do, but wait…

In the waiting, we may need to be honest, to say it like it is… to tell God, no holds barred, brutally honest, holding nothing back, how it is for us

Is this a time when you need to do that…

Still we wait…

Holding our bowl or glass of emptiness

gazing into the tomb, sealed, Jesus body wrapped inside

this time cannot be hastened on. 

Our Father…


Tomorrow is Easter Day and our gospel reading will be John 20.1-18

The symbol alongside your stone is a candle, or if you are adventurous, a fire.

You might like to do this meditation at the break of day, and outside having lit a fire.

The psalm that can be read before listening to the podcast is Psalm 105

May God bless your Holy Week journey.

Reflections on Holy Saturday

This is the gap – the space between… 

As with being with pain and suffering we can easily avoid simply being there and waiting for the mystery of what  next. 

When accompanying people who are praying the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius, praying through the passion is powerful, but some of the most powerful and profound shifts happen when you invite people to be in the tomb with the body of Jesus. Offering no time frame to this, but being there and letting God’s timing prevail. Its can be the hardest of waitings, but when something emerges, it is the most profound and moving thing to witness. 

So the waiting of Holy Saturday, takes us to the next level of trusting and letting go. Letting go of my timing, letting go of expectations of what should happen, waiting in trust that underneath it all is God.

I found myself drawing out the space into the opportunity to express hard feelings to God. We can be too nice to God, and thereby be dishonest with God. This can be an enormously important growth point – to tell God we are angry, frustrated, disappointed, with God. I have had to remind myself that God is big enough to take my emotional outbursts, and like a loving parent, gives space for the storm, and continues to hold. Allowing for this emotional processing means that what lies on the other side of it can be discovered. There’s no other way of knowing that for yourself. 


3 thoughts on “By Stony Paths: Holy Saturday

  1. Dear Nick
    Just to say thank you especially for the Holy Week meditations which I found a great blessing during lockdown
    It was really helpful to have the guided meditations to help focus my prayer
    And now in Easter tide I’m also finding the resurrection appearance stories very fruitful, especially in helping process some of the conundrums brought out by being in lockdown
    Many thanks

    1. Thanks Barbara, it is lovely to hear of how God is using the podcasts.

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