Saturday, April 3, 2010



Abandoned by your Master. Abandoned by your God.

Even in the face of betrayal by Yahweh himself, Jesus still finds a way to entrust the care of his soul to him. Still calls him Father. And then he’s gone. His body utterly broken and humiliated. Murdered. Executed.


They did it. They won. The bad guys won. How can this be? You can’t make any sense of it. He was supposed to save us. Jesus somehow was able to keep believing in the Father even unto death, but you can’t. You’re confused. You don’t know which way is up. A rage inside you begins to boil up and you’re just about to start bitterly cursing God when a realization dawns on you, and  grips you with fear.

You could be next.

As his mother and a few of the other women  receive his body and begin wrapping it in sheets to prepare for burial, you turn around and run.

You could be next.

You’re so ashamed. You want to be there for them.

But you could be next.

You run blindly, unsure where to go. You have no home. Your friends are scattered. You saw a few of them by the cross, heck John was even at the foot of it (foolish!) with Jesus’ mother, but you have no idea where they are now. If you’re seen by someone who recognizes you…well, you don’t want to think about what might happen. In your fear you run to the only place in the city you’re familiar with. The room where you’d celebrated Passover Seder last night before it all went literally to hell.

As the night deepens some of the rest of them trickle in. Over the next day word gets out to most of the disciples that everyone is holed up in the upper room. You all sit there, shell-shocked and confused. Trying, and failing, to make sense of it all. You would have bet your life, hell you did bet your life, that this man was the coming Messiah. Following him had been the most profound experience of your lifetime. Jesus alone held the words of Life, as Peter had said. Where else could you go? What else could you do now? How had it all gone so wrong so fast? It just doesn’t make any sense.

Nothing makes sense.

You mostly sit in dejected silence, afraid and deeply sad. Food has no taste, but the women force you to eat something, even just a bite. Everyone takes a shift as lookout, watching to see if the authorities will show up to arrest you too. You don’t even care anymore. Let them come. Life has lost its meaning.

Occasionally someone breaks the silence with a half-hearted “Remember that time when he…” but you don’t want to listen. It hurts too much. You just want to sit here and grieve, communally and quietly, with your brothers and sisters, the people who had become closer than family these last years.

As another day turns to night, everyone is exhausted. There has been hardly any eating and even less sleeping. You’ve tried to pray  to ask God just what He was thinking, to try and get some answers, but you just can’t muster up the willpower it will take to confront these questions. You’re not even sure if you believe in God anymore. And if He is there, He certainly doesn’t care about you. It was all a lie. A horrible, futile lie.

As dawn prepares to break, the women begin to stir; they look like they’re getting ready to leave. “We have to finish the burial rituals,” Mary says, “Sabbath started before we were done on Friday.”

“What’s the point,” you say. “He’s gone. To hell with God and his rituals.”

“Shame on you!” Martha cries. “We owe him at least that much. We owe his mother that much. At least a proper burial.” And they leave, off to Joseph’s tomb.

The women are right, of course. No matter how wrong his beliefs obviously were, the Master’s body deserves the dignity in death that it was cruelly denied at the end of its life. Your mind begins spiraling downward to depression and all the ‘what-ifs’ again. You get lost in your thoughts, not even aware of hours passing…

Suddenly, a frantic pounding at the door--

“Peter! John! Open the door!”

It’s the women. Back already?

“Let us in, let us in! Something’s happened!”

1 comment:

  1. How marvelous is that empty tomb! I cannot stand there, looking upon it as those women long ago must have, and not be incredulous, yet understanding more profoundly the words of Psalmist: O death, where is your sting?!!!