Friday, April 22, 2011

The Fourteenth Station: Jesus was Buried

"Then , having bought a linen shroud,
Joseph took him down,
wrapped him in the linen,
and laid him in a tomb
which had been cut out of rock.
Finally he rolled a stone across the
  entrance of the tomb."
   --Mark 15.46

Our little group who has followed the Priest through station after station now comes to an end. So here is the last station. Jesus is placed in Joseph’s of Arimathea’s tomb. Nicodemus helped with the details. It reminds me of Emily Dickinson’s poem, “The morning after death...” Things are quiet. Nobody wants to talk. We just shuffle around but mostly spinning our wheels. It was a terrible time for the disciples. Remember the Emmaus Road story in Luke? It was after Easter—after. And those two disciples shuffled along burdened down with sadness. When a stranger appeared he asked them about their sad demeanor. They told him the whole story. About the triumphal entry and those last days of Jesus’ life. And then they told this stranger the saddest thing: “We had hoped he was the one to redeem Israel.” Standing before this last station—looking up we understand that sad sentence. We had hoped. We had hoped we’d see him grow up and flap his wings and soar—yet he died much too soon. We had hoped we would have her a long time—and yet when our mother died when I was ten, the boy said. We lost so much. We had hoped the marriage would work out. That day we stood there with the candles flickering and dressed to the nines—surrounded by friends and family oh, we had hoped. We had hoped dear Kenny had not been killed on that rain-slicked highway when he was twenty-one. We had hoped this cancer would not spread but the news is not good, as we had hoped.

Those two disciples on the road to Emmaus kept walking with the stranger pouring out their hearts. Toward the end of the journey they suddenly realized all their hopes were not in vain. It was the Lord that walked through the gloom with them.

And so the sadness of our “we had hoped” is never the last word. Easter will come. It will not bring back what we have lost—but new chapters are to be written. New songs are to be sung. New possibilities will break open in ways we never imagined. So standing here with this little company that has moved from station to station we know deep in our hearts that sealed tomb was not the end. Not for them and not for us.

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