Here are some thoughts I shared this morning at the Good Friday service at The Church of Epiphany and St. Mark’s. There were seven of us sharing short reflections, each on a different section of the Good Friday story. Mine was John 19:38-42.
Burials are so final.
We see the body of the one we love, then close the casket, or wrap the body in linen cloths and spices.
We journey with the one we love to the closest cemetery available, and watch as their body is swallowed up by the earth, six feet in the ground, or deep inside a tomb.
We say our goodbyes to the one we love, with broken hearts and disbelieving minds.
But the burial forces us to believe, to know, that the one we love is really gone.
We saw them die, but we still thought they might suddenly come to. We saw their body, prepared for burial, but their presence in the room with us was still somewhat comforting.
But when the burial actually takes place, we know their gone.
We at the Dale have had this experience recently, with our dear friend Will, journeying with him from his death bed to his burial plot.
We’ve written messages and sprinkled tobacco on his casket.
We’ve thrown dirt into the hole where he now lies.
We’ve sought to honour his body well, like Joseph and Nicodemus sought to honour Jesus’ body well.
The body that Jesus chose to take on, so that he could come and dwell among us. So that he could show us how to live. So that he could die for us. So that he could experience all that we experience… including being buried.
And at the time, that seemed to be the very end of the story. The point of no return. The point where Joseph, Nicodemus, and probably John and all the Mary’s, including his mom, knew he was really gone.
Burials are just so final.