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 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