(Written to be read after reading Luke 23:50-56)
He died yesterday.
They prepared the spices for his body,
No doubt in the midst of all sorts of questions and feelings.
But the ability to do something was good.
Now they are constrained by the Sabbath.
Or maybe more accurately – maybe they are freed by the Sabbath.
Constrained in what they do.
Freed to feel what they feel,
To truly experience,
The emptiness, grief, guilt, confusion, shock and pain.
I imagine it was a bit like the emptiness of the funeral night in our society,
That time where all the busy-ness has been done and there is no more to do,
Where the tiredness can come crashing in,
Where we are frightingly alone with all that we feel.
And alone with our thoughts and feelings,
Some things become clearer – there are stunning moments of clarity,
But much is blurred by the many emotions that we feel,
And we wonder why,
wonder if we could have done anything to prevent it,
Wonder if we missed the hints,
Wonder if we were mistaken in loving,
Pretend that it doesn’t matter,
And at the bottom of all that,
When the raging somehow quietly stills,
So on that Sabbath,
The one after Jesus died,
I imagine his followers had so many feelings that raged around.
I imagine that they had moments of clarity in the midst of the storm,
Times of piecing together Jesus’ words,
running through every interaction, picking up his hints about dying,
even in those moments of clarity,
still not understanding all that he said,
not understanding all that is to come.
But mostly I imagine they feel empty,
I imagine they feel alone,
I imagine they wonder what life is now that Jesus has gone,
I imagine they wonder if they were stupid to give their love and devotion to this one who is now no more.
I imagine they wonder if they could have stopped it.
I imagine they try just to do what they normally would have on the Sabbath before this all began.
I imagine they wonder if they could do anything to change it.
I imagine that questions and accusations abound,
That the raging torrent of grief is strong,
And beneath all that,
Embracing the emptiness,
The raging torrent of questions and emotions,
That is the place this day in the story invites us into.
From our place, we know new life will come,
But let us experience the emptiness,
The guilt, the grief, the confusion, the shock, the pain.
It’s as we experience that fully,
That strangely a new life we never thought would come,
Meets us powerfully in ways we never thought imaginable.