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  • Writer's pictureFr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Holy Saturday Worship 2021

The Holy Saturday Liturgy

Holy Saturday April 3, 2021

Watch the Livestream at

Saturday, April 3, at 9:30 a.m. (or anytime afterward)


We at St. Matthew's Church in Savannah are unable to gather together in person due to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. Under the guidance of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, the Vestry has decided to keep our church building closed for all in-person gatherings.

At 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, I will broadcast the following worship service using Facebook Live at After the service concludes, you can re-watch it at any time. This worship service is designed for for use at home while watching the live stream or reading the prayers when you cannot physically attend worship. Lay people may read the entirety of this service.

Today’s service is a “Liturgy of the Word,” very similar to the first part of the Holy Eucharist from The Episcopal Church's Book of Common Prayer. In keeping with church tradition, "there is no celebration of the Eucharist on this day" (BCP, p. 283).

In 2021, we have made some technological and liturgical changes to our live stream, in accordance with the latest COVID-19 Safety Guidelines from the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. All these changes are intended to simplify the production process of these worship videos and comply with those guidelines.

  1. This liturgy will be performed live on Sunday morning as you watch from home, rather than pre-filmed and edited together. In other words, you are looking at a live feed of what we are doing in the church. This means there will be fewer flourishes on the video, but it will look like actually attending church again.

  2. Due to the "live" nature of this video, there will be up to 10 people in the church on Sunday morning. In compliance with the Diocese of Georgia's COVID-19 indoor worship guidelines, we will engage in social distancing, wear masks at all times, and aim to keep the liturgy under 60 minutes.

  3. Most hymns will be shortened (typically to 3 or fewer verses) and some portions of the liturgy that may be sung will be spoken.

May God protect you from this virus and protect the most vulnerable among us. May we be God’s hands and feet of compassion and service to all in need during this time. Amen.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

The Proper Liturgy for Holy Saturday

The Collect of the Day

[BCP, p. 283]

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us pray.

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Reading from the Book of Lamentations (3:1-9, 19-24)

I am one who has seen affliction under the rod of God's wrath; he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; against me alone he turns his hand, again and again, all day long. He has made my flesh and my skin waste away, and broken my bones; he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation; he has made me sit in darkness like the dead of long ago. He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has put heavy chains on me; though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer; he has blocked my ways with hewn stones, he has made my paths crooked. The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall! My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God

Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16

[BCP, p. 622]

Read responsively by half-verse (at the asterisk).

1 In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; *

deliver me in your righteousness.

2 Incline your ear to me; *

make haste to deliver me.

3 Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold; *

for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me.

4 Take me out of the net that they have secretly set for me, *

for you are my tower of strength.

15 My times are in your hand; *

rescue me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.

16 Make your face to shine upon your servant, *

and in your loving-kindness save me."

A Reading from the First Letter of St. Peter (4:1-8)

Since 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.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. John (19:38-42)

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.

Thriving in the Vine: Lenten Devotional of the Day

"Holy Saturday" by Kim Butler, St. Paul's, Augusta, GA

The Burial Anthem (BCP, p. 492)

[BCP, p. 492]

In the midst of life we are in death;

from whom can we seek help?

From you alone, O Lord,

who by our sins are justly angered.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,

Holy and merciful Savior,

deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

Lord, you know the secrets of our hearts;

shut not your ears to our prayers,

but spare us, O Lord.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,

Holy and merciful Savior,

deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

O worthy and eternal Judge,

do not let the pains of death

turn us away from you at our last hour.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,

Holy and merciful Savior,

deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

The Lord’s Prayer

[BCP, p. 364]

And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Grace

[BCP, p. 102]

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all evermore. Amen.

Parish Announcements

Holy Week & Easter Schedule: See below for highlights and click on the following link for the full schedule:

Easter Day (4/4/21) 

  • 6:30 AM   Sunrise Easter Vigil (Facebook)

  • 9:30 AM Easter Holy Communion (Facebook)

  • 10:30 AM - 12:00 Noon Drive-Thru Holy Communion in St. Matthew's Parking Lot (behind the church building at the corner of Burroughs St & West Anderson St)

The Parish Prayer List

Prayer List: Martha Avery, Zavier Bradley, Myrtle Brow-Hollis, Jacquelyn Bryant, Christine Brown, Genella Chamberlain, Taylor Blue Clemons, Annie Colbert, Ana Columna, Lazola Cope, Alice Dailey, Beryl Dandy, Mark Dashiell, Brittany Dawson, Eduardo Espinosa, Imani Ferguson, Ruby Fernandez, Harry Frazier, Charles Gordon, Amanda Green, Jocelyn Bryant Harden, Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Enoch Henderson, Charles E. Hines, Kenneth Howard, Terri Howard, Dale Hundley, Jared Hundley, Tracy Hundley, Milinda James, Alvin Jenkins, Dana Jenkins, David Jones, Frances T. Jones, Lori Jones, Robert L. Jones, Sr., Whitney Kennedy, Leonard Law, Jr., Ralph Lovett, Ryan Lovett, Tammie Lovett, Marcus Marzen, Joan Maty, Craig Maxwell, Sada Maxwell, Altheria Maynard, Carmelita Maynard, Bette Milledge, Hollie Moultrie, Patricia Murry, Russell Nails, Dorothy Neal, Jameel Newton, Glenzy Payne, Robert Payne, Willie Mae Robinson, Paul Rockwell, Dison Washington Slaughter, James Small, Gwendolyn Smith, Courtney Watts Vista, Ed Vista, Willie Stephens, Lori Ward, Gertrude Washington, and Noel Wheeler

Birthdays: Frank Brown (3/22), Edwin Nails (3/22), Esther McAlpine (3/23), Nathaniel Nails (3/23), Whitney Robinson (3/24), Michael Canada (3/25), and Craig J. Maxwell (3/27)

Wedding Anniversaries: N/A

Recent Deaths: Raleigh Bryant (12/18)

May the souls of all the departed rest in peace; and may light perpetual shine upon them. Amen.

Note: This service is reproduced from The Book of Common Prayer 1979 (BCP), The Hymnal 1982 (Hymn), Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal (LEV), and other sources cited. The Scripture readings are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible.

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