Usually I imagine myself watching from afar with the other women on the day Jesus was crucified and buried. This year, I feel as if I’m in the tomb. We don’t know much about day two of that weekend — Saturday — the Gospels all seem to leap from Friday to Sunday. But we know it certainly wasn’t a busy day. In fact, all activity had come to a screeching halt because it was the Sabbath. On Friday Joseph of Arimathea had hurried to get the body to the tomb, burial preparations had been made and sabbath prep done, so by Saturday the women who were always busy suddenly weren’t. So there was Jesus in the tomb, abandoned, cold, dead, buried and alone. Stillness and fear pervaded that Sabbath. But that doesn’t mean God wasn’t at work in the midst of that stillness.
This year so much has come to a screeching halt and life as we know it has ceased to exist. We may feel helpless due to our inaction or inability to stop this global crisis, and may feel that time has either accelerated out of control or perhaps stopped altogether. As we find ourselves entombed in places of isolation, aloneness, loss of livelihood, illness or despair over the loss of dear loved ones — let us remember that we are not left there alone. God is at work even now.
Today in the stillness of Holy Saturday, let us draw a deep collective breath as we remember the words of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux,
“May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”
Thank you, Little Flower. For we know that this place is only for a brief time and that transformation is just around the corner.
A song for today, with gratitude to Ana Hernandez who shared her gift of music with us at the Marble Women’s retreat recently. Here is her rendition of this powerful battle hymn to carry us through:
“Don’t be Afraid” is by Scottish composer/activist John Bell. Ana’s arrangement is available on iTunes and YouTube, and the album, Sending You Light, by Fran McKendree and Ana Hernandez, is available on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, etc… and on Ana’s webstore here:
By Karla Hendrick
One response to “Not so Empty Tomb”
Karla, thank you for sharing words of hope needed so much today. I offer prayers for all who are ill and/or mourning. May the promise so beautifully shared in Ana’s song of God always being near lift us all today. May we hold them tightly as we journey daily and especially toward Resurrection Day.