Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment. – Luke 23:50-56
The Saturday before Easter has been called Easter Eve, Holy Saturday or even the Great Sabbath. Yesterday, we spent time reflecting on Jesus' trials, crucifixion and death. We learn in the above passage that Jesus' body was wrapped in linen and placed in a tomb. Usually, the body would be anointed with oil and then covered with spices prior to wrapping in the linen cloth but time did not allow this due to the approaching Sabbath. Sabbath is a day set aside for worship and rest. In Judaism, Sabbath is the seventh day of the week which begins at dusk on Friday evening and ends at dusk on Saturday evening. According to Exodus 20:8-11 the Sabbath is to be kept as a holy day of rest just as God rested on the seventh day of creation. And so, the women in charge of anointing Jesus' body rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.
But was it really a day of rest? Perhaps it was more a day of restlessness. We have been on a journey living into and understanding Jesus' death since Ash Wednesday. We are constantly looking forward to the celebration of Easter Sunday because we know that the story didn't end on Good Friday. But what of Jesus' followers? Can you put yourself in their shoes? A day of rest. A day of confusion. A day of deep mourning. And a day of restlessness.
"Didn't Jesus say something would happen in three days? Does anybody remember what he said?" they asked each other.
They wanted to know if this was the end of the story or just the beginning. We too have been on a journey this Lenten season. We have been challenged to turn from our own cravings that are wants to the cravings that God truly desires us to have. We have heard people from South Dallas and from Chicuque share their stories. Are we ready to just rest? Or, are we also restless? Is this the end of the story or just the beginning?
Holy Saturday Prayer
God, turn my restlessness into action. Help me to crave for your people what you crave for your people. Amen.