This photo is of my prayer card laid upon the actual stone where they believed Jesus to have been placed within His grave. I visited it last year when I was in Jerusalem. This week we walk with Jesus. We envision His steps and we try to be mindful even in our daily tasks to “remember” Him and follow where He leads. Last week I spoke on the lessons learned from carrying my cross and being “crucified with Christ.” I now turn to the burial.
“Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my Savior,
waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!
Vainly they watch his bed, Jesus my Savior,
vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!
Death cannot keep its prey, Jesus my Savior;
he tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!
Saint Paul writes:
“Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.” Romans 6:3-4
“...buried with Him through baptism into death…”
It is black in the tomb. No light. Nothing living. There is a terrible cold emptiness in the darkness. A shiver runs up my spine. I feel sick. The absolute worst thing imaginable has happened. My Savior, my Hope, and my Love has been crucified. He is unrecognizable. His poor ravaged body was quickly wrapped in a cloth and placed hurriedly in this tomb. He is cold to the touch. No life. The One who said, “I came that you might have life and have it abundantly” is no longer aflame, alive with the Spirit. He is dead. I am feeling loss and separation as never before. The light inside of me has been extinguished. Lesson learned: A world without Jesus is unimaginably dark, cold and empty. I must fight off despair but I am not sure why, as there is no reason to live if there is no Divine Love to live for. This is what life must be like for those who do not know Jesus and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of His Spirit, even if they are not aware of it. They are blind and cut off from Life and Love itself. I must tell all about Jesus and God’s love so that they can escape this eternal darkness.
If Jesus stays in this tomb, there is no hope for heaven. Just death, vast emptiness, loneliness and loss. If Jesus stays in this tomb, this is the end. If Jesus does not get up, all that He did counts for nothing. All that He did was a waste. If He does not get up and go to the Father, He is not Who He said He was, and therefore neither can I go to the Father, as I am too unworthy on my own to ever reach heaven by my own efforts. Lesson learned: If Jesus is not resurrected by the power of the Holy Spirit, then there is no hope for me. If He can not ascend into heaven, taking me by the hand and bridging the gap between God the Father and me, I am forever, eternally lost. This cold tomb is the most I can hope for when life is done. Get up Jesus! Please get up! Or we will all be eternally lost to the darkness--forever separated from You and Love. I will place all of my hope and trust in You. You triumphed over death and did rise to go to the Father! You did bridge the eternal gulf of separation by taking my sin, my death and giving me Your grace, Your mercy and Your Life. Thank You that You did not stay entombed...so neither need I!
The only way to bear the weight of this darkness and loneliness is to know the END of the STORY! Lesson learned: THIS IS NOT THE END! This is just the beginning!
“...so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.”
Oh! Praise be to God! We are not left in the tomb! Just as He rose...so can we!
We read in the Magnificat on Monday that when speaking of the anointing of Jesus by Mary of Bethany that prefigures His death and burial, Pope Benedict XVI writes this…
“It was above all a concern to keep Christ alive in this world and to oppose the powers that aimed to silence and kill Him. It was an act of faith and love. Every such act can have the same effect.”
Arise Church! Shake off your grave clothes! With every act of faith and love we are keeping Christ alive! We experience our own resurrection! Do not stay in the TOMB! Do not choose to dwell in death, isolation and darkness. Experience the TRANSFORMATION of Christ by allowing Him to dwell in you and work through you to be His Resurrected Body. Go and tell! He came, not to make bad people good...but to make dead men and women ALIVE!
“They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised.” Luke 24:5-6
Thank you for the chorus of the song!
Up from the grave he arose;
with a mighty triumph o'er his foes;
he arose a victor from the dark domain,
and he lives forever, with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! (Something we can’t say until Easter!) Christ arose!
Thank You that I have New Life, because You rose from the dead and You took me with You! Thank You that I can experience this new life by opening wide the doors of my heart to You and letting You live in and through me! Let me be Your hands and feet in this world. Let me experience all of You through the “dynamis” (“dynamite”) power of the Holy Spirit...the same Spirit and Power that enabled You to rise from the dead! Raise me up! I need to be resurrected daily! I need You...and so does all the world. Make me bold to tell those who are living in darkness about You, for in You is Life...because You Live now and forever more! Praises be to You!
I ask this in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.