Reflection for March 30 – Kate Heichler

Today’s Passage from The Bible: Mark 15:25-47

It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, ‘The King of the Jews.’ And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!’ In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.’ Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.

When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘Listen, he is calling for Elijah.’ And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.’ Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’

There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.

Reflection – Kate Heichler

We have come to the end of the story – or what many people assumed was the end of the story. In our 40-day journey through the Gospel of Mark, the earliest of the written accounts of Jesus’ life and death, we have arrived at his execution and burial, the events we marked yesterday in our solemn observances of Good Friday. His bruised and broken body, lifeless, now cold, has been taken off that instrument of torture, loosely wrapped in a linen cloth as there was no time before the sabbath began to prepare it properly, and placed in a borrowed tomb hewn out of rock. A great stone has been rolled across the entrance to keep animals out – and perhaps grave robbers. His disciples are not there to see where he is laid – they have all fled, lest the authorities who had Jesus killed should come for them next. Only Joseph and two of the Marys who traveled with Jesus and his band of followers see where the grave is. They will return early Sunday morning, just after sunrise when the sabbath is over, to prepare him for a proper burial. 

And now, on this Saturday, they have nothing to do but wait. Wait and grieve, lament and wail in outrage. Wait and absorb the trauma they have endured. The trauma their beloved Lord endured. Wait and think about the love, the power, the healing, the forgiveness they witnesses with him. Where is God now? 

We too have nothing to do but wait today – and perhaps take some time to reflect on our journey through Lent this year, this journey through Mark in the company of all the wise women and men in our two churches who have offered their insights on the story as we went. Oh, some of us will be decorating churches or preparing for Easter dinner; some practicing music or writing sermons. But let’s make sure we also take time for quiet, for Sabbath. Even God rested after creating the world. And Jesus rested after redeeming it. 

But the next day…

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