Whatever happened to silent Saturday?

Wellington Blog by the Rev Tom Moffat

Technology… we can’t live without it but do we sometimes wish we could?  Force for good?  For bad?  A bit of both?

Whatever our view, technology would seem to drive us towards impatience…  ‘I want it, and I want it now…’

I certainly used to be like that once upon a time.

I remember the days when I looked forward to when my 2 -year contract for my mobile phone would be up for renewal and I could upgrade to the latest, the fastest, the shiniest new model…..impatient for the day when the upgrade would arrive… 

[Though I do wonder if this observation applies only to 50% of the population….. I’ve been watching Grayson Perry’s Art Club while revising this note and I hear him talk about ‘the masculine refuge of technology’…]

But moving quickly forward…..

How do we build patience in a technological world? And what does Holy Week have to do with it?

Earlier this month I viewed an online, livestreamed competition.  The nature of the competition was, to say the least, most unusual, and not one that would easily come to mind.  It was not a sporting competition, nor was it about general or particular knowledge.   

It was a Theology competition.  Yes, a Theology competition.    

Organized by the Church Times and the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity, it’s called ‘Theology Slam’. Its intent is to ‘search for the most engaging young voices on theology and the contemporary world’. 

Each of the three finalists this year gave their presentation which was then judged by ‘some of the top theologians and communicators in the Christian world’. The finalists were all, of course, excellent, and challenging in their own way and I would have marked them all as first equal; but one of the presentations, perhaps more than the others, caught my attention and made me pause.  Which was exactly what it was meant to do.   Inviting us to pause, to remain. To stay in the unresolved middle….the in-between time.

And that made me think a bit more about Holy Week.

Hearing only the stories of acclamation – the waving of palm branches on Palm Sunday and the resurrection on Easter Sunday – we would simply be carried along on a rising, triumphal arc and we would miss the reality that is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday… when the arc bends downwards into struggle and betrayal and death … before it rises through the silence of Saturday into Sunday.

But even then, we too easily jump from Good Friday to Easter Sunday – we rush into redemption, forgetting the in-between Saturday.  The Saturday that challenges our impatience.

To remain… in that ‘forgotten’ Saturday that came after Good Friday.  

To remain… in that ‘forgotten’ Saturday that came before Easter Sunday.

To remain in that in-between day, to remain with the followers of Jesus, still gathered on that uncertain Saturday…. on Saturday, between life and death, death and life….not rushing to ‘triumphant’; not rushing to ‘redemption’.

The followers of Jesus remain together in that in-between Saturday and bear witness by remaining.  Together in their uncertainty.

Could we begin to learn, this coming week, from the in-between day, the silent Saturday of Holy Week, about dealing with impatience?  And that then becomes our witness, not just for Holy Saturday but as we live in and through the ‘in-between’ days of our present pandemic?

Tom Moffat

For those who are interested, here are the three finalists’ presentations:


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