And when evening had come, 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 looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid. Mark 15:40-47
While on vacation we went to a water park with our granddaughter and family. We had a blast and were exhausted at day's end. Lilly was fearless, and at two, pushed past adults and children to ride on large, sheer drop slides. She said "excuse me" and forged on in the face of danger. She has no idea what the consequences might be, and delights in the water and the thrills of the rides.
Joseph had full knowledge of the consequences. He was a member of the council and would face dismissal and rejection for simply siding with the anarchist Jesus. By going to Pilate, he was sealing his fate. The consequences were very serious and he would be expelled from all life as he knew it. He stepped up, having a deep sense of God's love in his heart, despite the possible consequences of his actions. He chose the right path, and his courage will stand as an icon and encouragement to us all. Take courage and face the worst shunning for the love of God. God invites us to stand up to the bullies and the bureaucrats for the least and the vulnerable among us.
Today, I ask God to help me take courage and face the worst that the world can dish out, knowing we are never alone when we stand for love and justice. May we stand us together against the bullies and the abusers, especially for those who can no longer stand. May we rise up with courage and be inspired by Joseph to have a different vision, God's vision, for our world today.