Posted in 2022 Lent Devotions

Images of death

“Mirror of the Passion” Lent devotion for April 7, 2022. Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. (Luke 23:55)

Sometimes it’s a hot, sunny afternoon. Other times a chilling rain falls. Dozens may be there to watch. Or just a few stick around. Some have laid a rose on the casket. A cemetery worker winds a crank to lower the coffin into the vault. A few will throw some ceremonial handfuls of dirt into the grave. Or they will slide the urn into its niche. On occasion, I have dropped remains into a waterway or let the wind blow the ashes across a marsh. We watch as a friend, a loved one, or a stranger is laid to rest.

How do you feel in that moment? Sad? Empty? Numb? Relieved? All of the above? Do you think the women who came with Jesus from Galilee had any idea their week would end like this? I doubt it. Jesus had never been more popular. Crowed hailed him as the next king. He restored the temple to a house of prayer. Next up: restore the kingdom to Israel!

Joseph and Nicodemus wrapped Jesus’ body in linen. They laid his corpse in Joseph’s tomb. It was over. A terrible, very bad Friday was over. How could they ever forget that sight?

We consume many images of death each day. We drive by cemeteries. News reports show us mangled car crashes, the rubble of collapsed buildings, scenes from war, storm-flattened towns, candlelight vigils, and roadside memorials. Reporters tell us about the viruses, food, pollution, safety hazards, and storms that threaten our lives.

How do you feel in these moments? The feelings only graze me; I’m too busy to dwell on it. I get annoyed; everything out there is bad for me. I look away; I don’t want to see the carnage.

So many want to watch. Traffic slows to see the overturned car surrounded by rescue vehicles. Neighbors wander to the curb when the ambulance stops in front of a house down the street. Large audiences watch live broadcasts of celebrity funerals. So many watched as Jesus’ body was laid in the tomb.

After a movie, I like to stick around to see the bonus trailer. A little sneak peak of a sequel. I want to tell the women who came from Galilee that same thing. Stick around a little longer. If you think Jesus’ death and burial were unexpected, just wait til Sunday morning!

I see so much death, Lord. Open my eyes to see life, too.

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