Friday, April 09, 2004

the darkness descends, the earth is dark

XII. After between three and six hours of humiliating and shameful exposure and slow suffocation on the cross, having fulfilled all Your Father's will and having seen to the future care of Your mother, You handed over Your spirit to Your Father and died. Because it was the afternoon before Sabbath, there were orders to break the legs of the condemned so they would suffocate fast and not be left hanging there on Sabbath. Because You had already died, though, they did not break Your legs, only assured themselves of Your death by driving a spear through Your heart. Water and blood flowed out, the spring of salvation that I so often take for granted and fail to appreciate and give thanks for.

XIII. A wealthy and well-placed follower, Joseph of Arimathea, asked for and received permission to take down Your body and give it burial. Your mother, and John, and the other Marys, were already there at the cross, had been there the whole while. Joseph and Nicodemus came, and took Your body down from the cross, and laid it, for the last time, in the arms of Your mother, and she clung to it; but it was very near to sundown and Sabbath, so Joseph and Nicodemus had to take the body from her. Am I always as loath to let go of You?

XIV. Joseph and Nicodemus hurriedly wrapped Your body in linens and put it in Joseph's own tomb, not yet used for any burials, since it was not far away and Sabbath was very near. After Sabbath they would return and finish the rites and practices of burial, for there was no more time now, Sabbath was upon them.

And so we entered the one day in all of history when it can be said with any truth at all that God is dead.......


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