That evening a man named Joseph came. He was a rich man from Arimathea who had become a disciple of Jesus. He came to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission to take it. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had carved out of the rock. After he rolled a large stone at the door of the tomb, he went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting in front of the tomb.Matthew 27:57-61
There are answers so hard to hear that sometimes we don’t even want to ask the question. There are questions so urgent that we have no choice but to keep asking. I imagine that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were caught up in the question they had to put forth and the answer they could not bear to receive. So they sat in silence, staring at a silent tomb.
It was the sabbath. A day of rest. The day God rested after six days of creative labor. Jesus rests after the work of the cross is complete. From the churches to the jails, all is silence in the world.1 The most tangible presence is the absence of the beloved.
It is to that absence that Emmylou Harris whispers, “See what you lost when you left this world?” Did you not feel what I felt in the moment I anointed your feet? Did you not see my tears when you cried in the garden? Didn’t you think it was worth anything?
If we are really going to know the power of the Resurrection, we have to first experience the power of the grave. We might spend this day preparing deviled eggs and green beans, but can we also hold in our minds the women who prepared spices and oils for Christ’s body? Can we sit with them in front of the tomb, pondering the questions no one dares to ask?
1 From Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland”