We read that at your death there remained a gathering of loyal women. It’s not surprising that the women would have stayed; the need to comfort, to clean up, to attend to details seems to be a distinctly, though not exclusively, female trait.
These women were waiting for the chance to do something for you, a service for you and for your memory — to do something for you without someone else objecting or over-ruling. Here you were the powerless one, and they were your caretakers. With the help of Joseph of Arimathea, something good and loving could now be done for you.
Sometimes it’s awfully hard to allow others to do for me, Lord. I hate to give up what I think of as ‘control’ of my circumstances, my body, my life. The generous things others do, which they perceive as loving, comforting and helpful, I sometimes see as controlling, intrusive and condescending. So often I say, ‘Oh, I hate being fussed over!’ In saying this I am really saying that I’m not worth the fussing of others, or that I’m threatened by the very idea of needing some help and attention.
Sometimes I’m just so busy trying to control my life and my surroundings that I become blind to another’s need to do for me, to feel useful. I become too selfish to allow others the chance to perform ministry, to do what is pleasing in God’s sight.
The truth is this: on some days I can do for myself, and if I can I should. But on other days I lack strength, or my will is weak. On those days, I must remember you now, being tended to with the love you so well deserved by people who needed to do these small, fussy things for you, so they could comfort themselves with the knowledge that they helped.
Help me then, Jesus to be honest about my limitations and to be understanding and generous when others want, or need, to help.
Those who love your law have great peace, and for them, there is no stumbling block. (Psalm 119:165)
You were enshrouded and laid in a tomb, and a boulder was rolled in place at the entrance. Closure. Or so they thought.
We know of the glory that followed your entombment. We know that endings are often a state of mind.
In my life I have often thought that something was over, only to discover that something else was merely beginning. I have celebrated getting over illness, rolling stones over the experience, only to find the illness, or its effects, reappearing at a later date. I have addressed hard, painful episodes of my life with honesty and courage, thinking — as I rolled over the stone of closure — ‘I’ll never have to deal with that again!’ But then the memories resurface in dreams or in sudden, gasping fears that must once more be soothed down, or slain like obstinate dragons.
There are no endings. Things are a continual beginning. Things resurrect. So does hope.
Putting a stone in the way of things may seem to bring closure, but really the stone closes nothing, ends nothing. It just shuts down the comings and goings of the days and times of my life. In his Gospel, Saint Mark tells us that the woman who wished to anoint your body wondered, ‘Who will roll away the stone?’ (Mark 16:3)
Lord Jesus, I wish to live without stones and self-placed obstacles. I wish to live without the mindset of closure, which suggests a locking-up and a shutting-out. You are the Christ, the Eternal Daystar. In you there are no shadows. With you, there are no stones required. there are no limits. I will push forward until the stone is cleared away, until it becomes merely the strong rock upon which to rest along the way.
I join myself to you now, Lord, as I rise!
My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready. I will sing, I will sing your praise. Awake, my soul; awake lyre and harp, I will awake the dawn. (Psalm 57:8-9)
O Living Water
O Key of David
I praise you for you are my God.
I thank you, for you have heard my plea.
O Man of Bethlehem
House of Bread
O Lord of Life
I now walk with you
And each step is illuminated, made new, for
You are the Path of Light.
You are the Wayside Resting Place.
You are the Glory of the City of God.
In your greatness and your compassion,
have mercy on me in my smallness and my humanity.
Bless me as I bless your Holy Name,
and keep me in your site,
as I rest a while in you. Amen.
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