Friday, April 2, 2010
After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. John 19:38-42
There is very little good about Good Friday and there tends to be very little holy in holy week. We ponder together the passion events. We tell the story, we wash each others feet, we may carry a wooden cross throughout town, and we may have a long, three hour service today to mark the tie of Christ's crucifixion. And yet we remain so completely human and it seems as if our worst comes to light this week. I have watched good people hurt others during Holy Week. During this week, I have witnessed betrayal first hand. And, during a Holy Week, I have held all sorts of anger, malice and hurt in my own heart. Holy Week exposes just how horrible we can be to one another, as individuals and as a society. We are people still so in need of a Savior, folks still desperate for a God who offers love and redemption where we know only cruelty and deception.
The Good and Holy in today and this week, come not from us, but from the heart of God. This love, which knows not revenge nor jealousy, sweeps through the world, offering forgiveness and healing beyond our understanding. We come close to the love of God this week, in raw and exposed circumstances, and God breaks open our hearts. We enter in, from our human cruelty through Christ's passion, to become thankful as Joseph and Nicodemus were. They took his body, at great risk, and buried him at great cost to themselves. They knew that their actions were treason. And yet, love, God's love, make the fearful strong and the broken whole. Joseph and Nicodemus were afraid of nothing because they knew the face of God's love and nothing would deny them love again. So a dark day in the midst of a horrible week, becomes Good because God's love enter into our darkest places and brought love's redeeming light.
May we ponder together God's enormous love for us. A love which was willing to endure betrayal, denial and the heinous pain of crucifixion, so that we may receive God's love for all time. May our burdens be lifted today and our eye sight clear, so that we may see the cross and tomb and know God has gone to the darkest places so that we might have holy, good and joyous lives.