Executed man left to rot

Today’s blog concerns Holy Saturday. To start at Good Friday, click here.

Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day,and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.-The Gospel According to Lukedead jesus That’s what our headlines would read concerning the mutilated corpse of Jesus of Nazareth. “Executed man left to rot.” Petty and vindictive, if anyone cared at all past Friday afternoon. He got what He had coming. Justice achieved, and the fun of the macabre spectacle over. Saturday found a dead body, stiffening in the ground, in need of spices to mask the odor soon to come. Saturday found disciples, friends, and family waking up to suddenly remember Jesus was dead. And He would be dead tomorrow, and Monday, and Tuesday, and always.

I live close to a large cemetery, and errands and trips often take me past the vast field of the dead. More than once it’s struck me as unsettling to see how many pretty days shine down upon a last farewell, and how the rest of us keep going. Sure, Friday gets some attention. People cook food and click “like” on an emotional Facebook status. But Saturday always comes. That isn’t to say the tears of are friends aren’t real; I have both given and been the grateful recipient of such gestures. But after the diagnosis, the lost job, the broken relationship, the death, the adrenaline ebbs and new triumph, tragedy, or inanity buries the Facebook story. The food is eaten. The guests go home. Those who held your hand have lives that demand their attention. Saturday always comes.

Maybe you find yourself in Saturday. We have all woken up on Saturday at least once. Saturday can be lonely. Saturday can come soaked in guilt and despair. If it does, it isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last. But if Saturday comes to you, remember that Saturday came too for Jesus and those who loved Him. I don’t know how long you’ve been bearing your cross. Maybe you’re alone, with your now cross bearing you. Jesus hung on His cross until He couldn’t take Himself down. Remember that. Powerless and gone, the shell of a man was removed. Bound, as if cloth would prevent movement any more than the death that already came. And left to rot.

Executed man left to rot

Weep not for the executed Christ

women cryingAs the soldiers led Jesus away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”‘ For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”-The Gospel According to Luke

This Easter weekend, don’t cry for Jesus while watching the Passion of the Christ or attending the Stations of the Cross. Don’t weep for the broken man struggling to breathe on the tree of pain. Don’t let tears fall to the earth as His blood did once.

Weep for the women of Jerusalem, and their children. Weep for those who lived under Roman occupation, and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem they would soon face.
Weep for the Middle Eastern women who still see their sons and husbands and brothers torn to shreds in the fires of occupation.
Weep for the women of Africa, whose mourning cries find amplification in the media even less frequently than their Middle Eastern sisters.
Weep for the women of the West who are told they got what they deserve for their failures as their children are filled with holes, pierced by hypodermic needles and stolen handguns.
Weep for those whose social structures demand the blood of sons and husbands and brothers to make us comfortable and removed from the world’s problems. Weep for us.

Weep for those weeping for Jesus.
And malnourished children.
And collateral damage.
And Michael Brown.
And Eric Garner.
No matter the blood on the hands of the slain, their blood now waters the earth, mixed with the tears of those who loved them as humans are designed to love.
Weep for them, for they don’t know if Sunday is coming. And they face many more Fridays and Saturdays before Sunday’s hope rises.
Weep for those foolish enough to discount their Fridays and Saturdays. Weep for those who think Sunday comes on our schedule. Weep for us.

Weep for those who call on the mountains to fall on them.
Weep for those who prefer the gaping maw of death to life.
Weep for those are so divorced from Sunday’s hope as to long for Friday’s death and Saturday’s oblivion.
Weep for those who dare look down on their pain and tell them to simply summon Sunday. Weep for us.

Weep for the Roman soldiers, who don’t even know to weep for themselves.
Weep for the crowd who clamors for the murderer over the murdered.
Weep for the police who fail their oaths.
Weep for the judges and executioners bound to a system greased with blood.
Weep for those who echo the cries for blood from the nightly disembodied heads of rage and confusion.
Weep for all those who drive iron spikes where they don’t belong. Weep for us.

Weep not for the executed Son of Man, sent to death. Weep for those who send out Death.
Weep, for Death always returns to the hands which sent it.
Weep for those so deeply under the tyranny of Thanos’ usurping reign that they do not recognize the blood on their hands and its seal on their hearts. Weep for us.

For if while the tree is still green we deny its fruit to one another,
use its strength to separate ourselves,
and its wood to pierce and kill,
For if while the tree is still green we hang our Creator on a tree to die,
What might we do if the tree ever died?

Weep not for the executed Christ