Late Friday evening, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took Jesus' body down from the cross and placed it in a tomb. Both Joseph and Nicodemus were members of the Sanhedrin and had lived as secret followers of Jesus, afraid to make public professions of faith because of their prominent positions. But both were also deeply affected by Christ's death and boldly came out of hiding to bury his body with dignity.
We remember his three day entombment on Holy Saturday. And though we could flip through the pages to the resurrection, for we know the tomb was not the end, we must let ourselves assume the posture of those who lived in uncertainty. The prophecies and promises were there, the indications that the Lord had made throughout his public life were heard and regarded with import, but the pieces were still scrambled. For now, Jesus was in the tomb. They had killed him. He was dead. That much was certain. How his followers must have mourned him. How Peter, the denier, and the other disciples, who in their fear had left him in his final hour, must have faced their shame and prayed for forgiveness. The ache that must have throbbed in the human heart as his mother said yes, once again, to braving an unknown path. Darkness descended, an emptiness echoed, and a new normal was clumsily carved from the grief. But hope remained. His promise lingered in the air, and the waiting began.
The resurrection will come- we know it to be true. But today we are invited to sit in the ache, as if the sweet revelation of his rising was not yet known to us. We are invited to mourn him, to humbly bow our heads in acknowledgement of the part we played, and to look to his sacrifice as a light, still shining in the darkness. We are deeply affected by Christ’s death, we boldly come out of hiding in thanksgiving for his sacrifice, and we wait with eyes and hearts wide open.
Jesus, the world is quieter. My own pace has slowed, and nature suspends its rhythm. Today I am invited to consider the experience of a life without you- a life where I shut you out and fortify a barrier against you. A life numb to the depths of emotion and desire, where human comforts are hollow and my soul wanders aimlessly. It is not a life at all. Lord, convict my heart to pursue you, even to the cross and grave, knowing that I will rise with you at the appointed hour. I choose a life of passion, where your grace abounds, and I find my home in you. I choose to mourn and grieve you, to ache and long for you, to await you in hope, and to rise at your call. Your absence today seals my soul; I never wish to be parted from you.