Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.
On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment. Luke 23:44=56
I am often surprised by grief in myself. My body often remembers an anniversary before I do and it takes looking at calendar to realize why I feel so bad. The loss of a loved one is overwhelming, as if a part of our own body is taken away, never to return. And other losses can bring on that same grief - the deep sense of trauma and pain. We find ourselves feeling isolated and alone, racked with weeping and wondering how to get through the day.
in our Gospel today we hear again of the death and burial of Jesus. So familiar and yet so very raw. The disciples standing by in shock, the women doing what they could for his body and dear Joseph or Arimathea risking his position in order to know God's presence in his life. All were going through the motions, trying their best and feeling inadequate for the circumstances. The complex reactions of our humanity are demonstrated in this simple story. In grief, we can be stunned, we can rush to do the small and large tasks - nothing makes the grief and loss any better. It can feel as if God is far off in our grief. And yet, there is more to life than our losses, and God promises to be with us in are darkest places and near us always in our loss and grief.
Today I ask God to help me be aware of all those who are caught in the depths of grief. May we provide a sense of God's loving presence to those who are isolated and alone today. May we not shun their loss but rather embrace our own, seeking God in the deepest places and in our darkest hours.