Merciful and ever-living God, Creator of heaven and earth: As the crucified body of your Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy day, grant that we may await with him the dawning of the third day as he promised, and rise with him in newness of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
1 Peter 4:1-8 – Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God. You have already spent enough time in doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry. They are surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of dissipation, and so they blaspheme. But they will have to give an accounting to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. 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. The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.
In the midst of life we are in death; from whom can we seek help? From you alone, Lord, who by our sins are justly angered. Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and merciful Savior, deliver us from the bitterness of eternal death.
On this Holy Saturday in which Jesus passed from death to life, we pray and watch for the dawning of his triumph and resurrection. We join the whole company of God’s people in heaven and on earth in recalling and celebrating his victory over death, and our deliverance from the bondage of sin and darkness to everlasting light.
“In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God … In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1,4-5).
Adapted from The New Handbook of the Christian Year by Hoyt L. Hickman, Don E. Saliers, Laurence Hull Stookey, and James F. White. (Abingdon, Nashville: 1992) pp. 192-193.