Holy Saturday is usually a day of preparation. For those of us who are active in Christian churches, there are a zillion details to attend to before Easter. Even for those who see Easter is primarily a festival of Spring, there is usually cleaning and cooking and maybe some eggs to dye. If you have little people in your home, there are probably some Easter baskets to assemble.
We tend to think of the giant “honey do” list as an impediment to our spiritual practice; if only we could get it all done and have some time alone! But the beauty of tending to the household, and decorating and gardening is that these activities can help form our spirituality, and turn our hearts to God.
The tradition of dyeing eggs is ancient. When we create something beautiful (see the Pysanky eggs below), we participate in the creative work of God. When we decorate eggs with children, we open to them the wonder of creation with natural materials. And sometimes, the opening for spiritual discussion comes when the hands are busy; “Daddy, how come everything has to get born?”
The cleaning (from the Jewish tradition of cleansing the house of “chametz” or leaven) impulse is deep in our souls; even for those who are not “Nancy Neat”, there is something about Spring that makes us want to move things around, to get rid of what we no longer need. This, too, can be a spiritual practice; by cleaning our spaces, we separate things we value from things we no longer need. Sometimes we can finally say goodbye to old ideas, old dreams, old priorities. We have to, if we are to embrace what is new!
The soil seems to call to many of us in this season; maybe just a potted plant, or maybe you are deep into garden preparation. Re-connecting to the earth is itself a spiritual practice. Just being able to smell the outdoors again is a deeply spiritual moment.
But even if you do none of these things today, Holy Saturday is one of the few days on the calendar when we can anticipate something. Easter is really coming; there will be familiar smells and colors and music. After the long, cold days of Lent, our preparation is over and Christ is risen. In some ways, all of our earthly lives are preparation for what is to come. We do what we do on Earth, trying to grow and learn and become so that someday we will be ready to be eternally in God’s presence. That is worth the wait.