When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. Matthew 27:57-61
When the shootings in Aurora happened, it felt very personal to me. Most people don't know where Aurora is, but we lived in Aurora when we first moved to Colorado. I had my first back surgery while living in Aurora and made many friends while there. We know well the locations of the horrific violence. The area had grown incredibly since we called it home, but it still has a very tender place in my heart as home. My heart broke with sadness for people I do not know but can walk their streets and shudder because we know those places so well.
Joseph did not know the disciples or Jesus well, but he did what he could in a horrific moment. The nearest and dearest to Jesus were completely undone, stunned by the violence and death, paralyzed by fear and in shock. Joseph moved them from the horror to the tomb, making a safe place for the women and the disciples. They could mourn privately and safely and tenderly hold one another. We are invited by God to follow the example of Joseph, who, faced with horrible tragedy offered what he had, and tenderly helped the living to find solace and safety.
Today I ask God to help me be tender at all times, knowing that so many people are barely steps from great tragedy in their lives. Their hurt might be hidden and deep but God knows their need. May we all respond as Joseph did, offering what we have for the care of the broken-hearted, the abused and the maligned, knowing that God is tenderly working always for the healings and renewal of the world.