Posts Tagged ‘loss’

Good Grief

Saturday of Holy Week Reflection

Photo taken by Christopher Michel.

Matthew 27:55-66. (Click here to read the full text.)

Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive,
“After three days I will rise again.” 
Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day….

Numb. Wobbly. Dread carried like a stone in the gut. These are just some of the ways grief manifests itself.

Jesus’ followers must have felt the weight of grief after the worst thing they never imagined had happened. Although the Sabbath was a required day of worship, they were no doubt distracted all day. Jesus had been their teacher but also their friend. He had been their rabbi but also their hope for the Messiah. Now Jesus was reduced to “had been,” past tense, their hope entombed.

Without knowing it, the day grief settles into a human heart things begin to change. Priorities shift. Hopes fade only to reappear in unexpected places. Where we find meaning either settles deeper into what and who we have known already, or it takes up new residences and turns to see fresh faces. Grief is an unfamiliar emotion that makes all things ahead seem even more unpredictable.

On this Saturday when the followers and family of Jesus were only starting to keep the vigil of grief, we know that they were unknowingly preparing their hearts for an unimagined grace. But don’t shortcut the virtue of silence and prayers of anguish. God hears these too. Even their distress displays trust in God albeit of a different kind. Their complaints are a call to God for help.

While Jesus’ followers are grieving, the officials want to ensure Jesus’ death. They seal the tomb and place a guard to watch. It is up to those in charge to make sure that Jesus stays dead. It serves as another display of the arrogance in thinking that human authority has the right to control life and death. No, that role is not for the family that grieves or the government that kills. Life can only be given, either in this creation or the heavenly realm, by God. In the weight and silence of grief, this statement of faith is what gives us strength to await yet another day and whatever it may bring. What we need is comfort, and the nearness of God in our grief. What is to come is beyond us, but if we admit it, there may yet remain a smolder of hope that is not yet extinguished. One day it may flame into light. May that day come soon, O Lord. May faith become sight. May death bring new life. Only in you, O Lord, do we dare hope.        

Reflection Questions

  • If, or when, we are grieving, what gives us hope?

Prayer. O Lord, may you give me sure faith that I shall know your goodness in all ways and days of life, today and forever. Amen

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