Prayer: O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming , and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Lessons: Job 14:1-14; Psalm 130 John 19:38-42
We don’t know much about Joseph of Arimathea. We have some information from scripture, more from tradition, even more from legend. In scripture, we are told he was a man of some wealth. It was Joseph who asked Pilate for the body of Jesus, so that he could bury him. To get an audience with and the ear of Pilate indicates that he carried some importance. Possibly, like Nicodemus, he was a member of the Jewish council—the Sanhedrin. Legend goes a bit further, telling us that he was the first missionary to England, carrying with him there the Holy Grail, the cup of Jesus at the Last Supper.
Whatever else he was, whoever he was, he was a follower of Jesus, and like the others, held hopes and dreams that Jesus was the one – the Messiah – the anointed one who would usher in the new kingdom of God.
But now, with Nicodemus and Mary Magdalene and the others who made up the funeral procession, Joseph’s hope was lost. It had died with Jesus. All the dreams of the coming kingdom were gone. Now, it was a matter of burying a friend, and dealing with the grief and loss of it all.
Of course, things would change. On Easter morning, all those dreams and hopes would live again. With the resurrection of Jesus, they would know that their dreams were too small. That the coming of God’s kingdom would be so much more than they could even imagine.
But not today. Today, in confusion and sadness, they bury their friend. Today Jesus sleeps, and the dream sleeps with him.
Today, they must wait.
Today, the dream must wait.
Today, we wait—for Easter.
St. Paul’s, Leavenworth