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Holy Saturday – 2023

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This year’s Holy Week Trilogy is a series of three visions of the crucifixion, each primarily illumined by one of three different ‘light sources’: Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Resurrection Sunday. Each day’s particular illumination draws out certain aspects of the same, infinitely meaning-filled event—the Crucifixion of the Risen Lord.

In part 2 of the series, the depiction of Jesus upon the cross remains the same as shown in part 1—as does the position of the Beloved Disciple at His feet. However, the context surrounding Him is now illumined by Holy Saturday. Over the arches that frame the sorrowing saints are three moons, depicting the three days Jesus is in the tomb. A moon also appears behind the Lord, replacing the Sun and imaging the stone that seals Jesus’ tomb; the tomb represented in the rocky formations surrounding the cross. In the sky above the Lord are twelve stars which symbolize the people of God (12 tribes, 12 disciples, cf. Rev 21:12,14) into whose Night of Death the Lord Himself has entered as ‘Immanuel’—God with Us (Matt 1:23; Heb 2:14-17).

Jesus’ is laid in the tomb on the Sabbath, and so His ‘rest’ in death becomes an image and fulfillment of God’s own ‘resting’ on the seventh day after His work of creation (Gen 2:1-3). The seven stars on the arches represent the seven days of creation+Sabbath, while the still waters that fill the opening of the tomb symbolize both the rest of the True Sabbath inaugurated in Christ’s Passion, and the primordial waters of chaos now turned to a sea of glass—the newly created cosmos—through the sovereign ‘Let There Be’ spoken in the Word made Flesh from the cross.

Finally, the opening of the tomb is in the form of a ‘Mandorla,’ which symbolizes the presence of God in traditional iconography. In this way I attempt to reiterate that, precisely in His self-giving to the point of death, Jesus definitively reveals the identity of the only true God (Phil.2:6-11).