For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does. – 1 Peter 4:6
I would wish you a restful Holy Saturday, my Savior,
a Sabbath to honor God’s rest in Creation,
a Sabbath to honor the leisure of freedom,
a Sabbath between work done and to be done.
Yet this one verse of Scripture bewildering
rings also with promise and grace,
that your love would encompass not only
the living, but also raise up the dead.
We honor the dead in our memory,
unless we seek to excuse the living,
and then we defame them, abuse them,
discard them as surely as Pilate intended for you.
So Jesus, I pray you forgive my hope
that your Holy Saturday set aside rest
to welcome all spirits, once living, still living,
into the new life for which you had died.
A poem/prayer based on 1 Peter 4:1-8, the Revised Common Lectionary Second Reading for Year B, Holy Saturday.
The image is The Harrowing of Hell by Michael Burghers (1647/8–1727) – Copied from the 1904 work “Plays of our Forefathers” by Charles Mills Gayley, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3434524.