Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day 40 of Lent, Holy Saturday, April 19, 2014

They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews.
                           John 19:40 (NRSV)

On the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter morning, it must have been somber. The body had been wrapped and anointed.  

What would Jerusalem have been like?  It would have been the Sabbath and so there would not have been a lot of activity.  It would have been quiet and still.

Sometimes after the loss of a family member, there may be a lull before the service if all the tasks have been accomplished.  Usually there are extended family who have gathered for the service.  We usually bemoan the fact that we only get together like this for funerals.  

The funeral service is meant to be a celebration of life in the church.  It is seen as a movement from this life to the life eternal.

Most of the time when I am meeting with families, I hear them say to me, "We don't want this to be too depressing.  He (or she) would have wanted us to celebrate rather than mourn."  
Garden tomb in Jerusalem

While there is a sense and tone of celebration, it is a little silly to think that we won't mourn a loss. It is part of our human nature. We are sad that our earthly future will no longer include our loved one in our plans.

This must have been how the disciples felt on that Saturday. They may have been asking God, "Why?" They would have been remembering all the people Jesus healed and even the ones he raised from the dead.  As his disciples, I wonder if any thought about trying to raise Jesus from the dead as he had done others.

Would they have wondered if Jesus performed those miracles so that they might do it for him? He did talk about being raised up in three days - what if this was part of the plan and they simply didn't understand?

Some would also have been wringing their hands over their desertion.  What if they had done a better job of helping Jesus escape? 

And the thoughts would have gone on and on.

They may have thought about being reunited someday at the resurrection.

They imagined this to be at the end of time.  

But sometimes God's time and our time don't coincide.  The end would come early the next morning.

It was actually a beginning...

Photo by Nemo (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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