Holy Saturday Saunter with St. Richard of Chichester

Singing “Day by Day” from Godspell

Readings for Holy Saturday

Job 14:1-14

Psalm 31:1-5

John 19:38-42

This reflection was shared during the Holy Saturday Sacred Saunter on April 3, 2021.

Today is Holy Saturday (when we remember Christ in the tomb) and it is also the feast day of St. Richard of Chichester, a 13th century English bishop. After King Henry III confiscated all of his belongings due to a dispute between the church and state, institutions which were frequently in tension throughout Anglican history, Richard became known for traveling by foot (rather than by horse). So, he’s another patron saint of Sacred Saunter. Richard became a missionary bishop who served poor fishermen and farmers throughout England and he died on April 3rd. He is perhaps best known for praying to see God more clearly, to love God more dearly, and to follow God more nearly. These words were popularized by the hymn “Day by Day” which is Hymn 654 in our hymnal and Richard’s words were made even more popular by the song “Day by Day” from the musical Godspell, which was written by a young Episcopalian named John-Michael Tebelak. He died at the way too young age of 35 due to an oversized heart and if he were included in our calendar of commemorations, his feast day would have been yesterday, since he died on April 2 (which was Good Friday this year). John-Michael discovered in the Gospels the most joyful and passionate love story of all time and he understood Holy Week as an invitation for us to enter more fully (with our heart, mind and body) into this most passionate love story. Unfortunately, when he attended an Easter Vigil service at an Episcopal cathedral in Pittsburgh, he was not welcomed mostly due to his hippie clothing. And he said, “Instead of rolling the stone away from the tomb, the church seemed to be piling more stones on.” So as we prepare to celebrate the Easter Vigil tonight, I invite us to ask ourselves what it looks like for us to roll the stone away in our lives (rather than pile more on), so that we may enter more fully into the most passionate love story of all time, which helps to see God more clearly, love God more dearly, and follow God more nearly, day by day and especially on this Holy Saturday.

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