Fourteenth station: Jesus is laid in the tomb

Fourteenth station: Jesus is laid in the tomb

March 26

So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. (Matthew 27:59-61)

Love comes

Lovingly, they’d wrapped his body. Now, there is nothing more to do, so they sit in the silence, the two Marys, staring at the stone that seals Jesus’ tomb, then at their feet, waiting for … nothing, for what good can come now? But still, unable to pull themselves away.

Their eyes blank, their hearts hollow, their minds lost in thought that is no thought, only the longing for what they cannot have—him, Jesus, his smile, the sound of his voice, his laugh, the way his eyes caught sunlight glistening on Galilee’s sea.

They want to feel the way they felt when he was with them. They want to know this, this … indescribable love flooding their hearts one more time, this love that made them more alive with joy and gratitude than ever before. They ache for the Love who filled and loved them beyond any expectation.

But now all they can do is stare at the gray stone that holds him in, its dead weight drawing their hearts into depths from which they might never rise.

Maybe, they just need to wait. Maybe time will heal their wounds. But does it ever?

No, time doesn’t heal. Love does, the Love they knew in themselves when they were with him.

But that is gone, so they wait … for nothing, staring at the dust into which his life is cast, not knowing there is another chapter in the story of what love does.

They do not yet know the Love in Jesus can pass through locked doors and enter closed hearts. They do not know that it has the power to penetrate their darkness with a light that is the glow of eternity.

They do not know that the One who is Love, the One who came to them, will come and engulf their hearts with a warmth sweeter than a spring day. They do not know tears will glisten in their eyes again, not in sadness but laughter, as they discover God is greater and better … and life more graced and beautiful … than they ever imagined.

So they sit and wait, not knowing Love will come. He always comes. He always will.

So we wait … in every darkness knowing, Love will come … for us.

We adore, O Christ, and we bless you.

By your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Pr. David L. Miller

 

 

Fourteenth station: Jesus is laid in the tomb

Fourteen station: Jesus is laid in the tomb

March 25

So Joseph [of Arimathea] took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. (Matthew 27:59-60)

We know

We know this moment. We’ve lived it.

I remember friends at the open graves of their children, and my mother on the hillside of Elmwood Cemetery, their feet fixed, not wanting to move at the close of the service, while a voice within me or from outside spoke words that still echo in the crashing silence of the heart.  “We can’t just leave him here.”

But we had to, and we did, as all of us have too many times and in too many places, each time standing there trying to remember … everything … lest we forget the sound of their voice and how we felt when we were with them, trying to hold it all in our minds lest the love we had given and received be lost in the wash of time.

So we know the hearts of those who surrounded Jesus’ body. They know … this is the last time they will touch him, look into his face, stroke his arm, brush hair from his brow, hold his ruined hands and kiss his cheek.

They do not hurry as they wash his body, lifting and turning him from one side to the other, reaching beneath and above his dead weight to wrap him in clean, white cloths, folding in spices as they go. Not speaking or wanting it to end, they know … they will see him no more.

The glint in his eyes is gone, the light in their hearts extinguished. Hope lies dead on the slab, so they lay it to rest not knowing when laughter will come again, if ever.

Maybe time will heal their wounds, but it doesn’t, not really. Only love does. The Love Jesus is … and always will be.

We adore, O Christ, and we bless you.

By your holy cross you have redeemed the world

Pr. David L. Miller