Reflection: We all have lost loved ones; family members or friends who have died due to natural causes, illnesses or sometimes from unexpected or tragic circumstances. Our sacred story reminds us that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was particularly hit hard by the death of her son. His death was a painful and horrific experience; to see her own child die before her in such a violent way. That kind of loss can be unbearable. And Mary speaks for all of us, we who have lost those that we love and miss terribly.
But Mary also had loving friends and family around her to help bear the burden of their loss. Just before his death Jesus asked the disciple that he loved, John, to adopt Mary as his own mother. Mary’s sister was also at the cross with her, as well as another friend named Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. In Mark’s account of the crucifixion there is another woman at the cross with Mary; Salome, who also accompanies these women to the tomb. These women, the friends and family of Jesus, lead us to the tomb—into the darkness of Holy Saturday tonight and into the light of Easter tomorrow.
Pastor Brice Thomas:
Friends I would like for you to listen to our scripture on this Holy Saturday. It comes from the Gospel of John chapter 19(31-42).
It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was Passover week). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also may continue to believe.) These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and “They will look on the one they pierced.”
Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there and the women came and prepared Jesus' body.
Friends this is our sacred story. It is the word of God for God's people. Thanks be to God.