“…one from whom others hide their faces”

He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account.

(Isaiah 53:3)

Today is Saturday. Holy Saturday. The middle day. We don’t tend to like in-between spaces. We fast-forward through the pause in the action and fill with noise any silence in the story. For most of us, Good Friday bleeds as quickly into Easter Sunday as we can manage. But Saturday stands stubbornly in our way. In Friday there is the raging noise of pain. In Sunday there is the ecstatic song of victory. But in Saturday there is only the deafening silence of grief.

In the cross, our worlds have been shattered—the plastic palace, rose-colored glass, fantasy worlds where we too often live. Standing in Saturday, we can no longer pretend that we live in a world where only the guilty suffer and where the weak are always protected, because we saw Friday. We saw injustice inscribed on the broken body of an innocent man. But we try. We stick our fingers in our ears and shut our eyes and run as fast as we can into the bright light of Sunday.

But Saturday remains, asking us to stop, be still, and be silent. And from this in-between space, we uncover our faces. What do you see? Can you see the broken man inscribed on the bodies of those who are despised and rejected around you? Can you see him among those considered “of no account?” This is where Jesus dwells. Do not hide your face from him.

In the death of Jesus, in his suffering, he opens our eyes to the suffering of the world, the suffering that breaks the heart of God. And Saturday will not let us forget. This holy pause in the action, this sacred silence in the story keeps us from running so quickly to celebration that we forget how we got there. We forget that how we got there matters. The silence of Saturday gives us the space to look. To grieve. To remember. Remember that Jesus is one of those. One of those “from whom others hide their faces.” One of those from whom we hide our faces. One of those from whom I hide my face.

Today, stop for a moment. Be silent for a breath. Open your eyes. See. Grieve. Remember.

May we be a Saturday people. A people who never hide our faces from the suffering of the world God so loves.

Charissa Walters Wilson
North Penn Church of Christ
Chalfont, PA