Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them (Joseph and Nicodemus) wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.John 19:40-42
Easter Saturday is a hard day to write about. The season of preparation is over, with its key milestones of Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday. But resurrection still seems a long way away.
Our church family at HMPC has framed Lent 2023 as a pilgrimage, marking our journey one Sunday at a time as we made our way along the dusty trail to Jerusalem. Step by step, closer to fully entering the experience of Easter.
Maybe today is supposed to be this awkward, this silent, this much loaded with echoes of the unbearable grief Jesus’ friends must have experienced but that we – knowing the rest of the story – can only imagine.
But not imagine all that well, to be honest, as I sip fresh coffee and watch the rain fall through the window at my comfortable home, secure in the knowledge that (for now at least) my faith in Jesus is not threatened by some regime aiming to keep me silent, or at least quiescent.
So I have this contemplative orientation today, as we look out into our world, peering deeply into the things around us. The flowers; the wet grass; the dripping trees; the rivers of pollen washing down the street; the gathering clouds; the silence.
Silence. Rebekah and I are trying to keep the intrusion of noise from unsettling this meditative orientation. Trying to think, to feel, to let the fact of Christ’s sacrifice rest in us… rest on us… to stop as much of the extraneous noise as possible. The news can wait for another day. We do not have to be entertained by distractions. We must distance ourselves from the insidious drumbeat of disillusion that, in this age, seems to threaten just about everything.
I wonder how much our compulsion for noise and distraction is keeping us from the quiet and patient work of The Spirit, and God’s infiltration into the deeper places of our selves? If Henry David Thoreau’s retreat to Walden Pond was to escape the interference and busyness of Concord in the mid 19th Century – “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,” he wrote, “to front only the essential facts of life.” – then how much more must we (in 2023) be drowning in distraction?
So today we take pause. Easter Saturday when, for a brief but difficult time, the light went out.
How blessed we are to know that Sunday is coming and that Jesus shines!
But for today, trying to understand the emptiness of soul his friends must have felt, I am compelled to listen….. – DEREK