In doing a basic search for a picture of a closed tomb, I find far more pictures of open tombs… the stone rolled away.
We don’t like the feeling of Good Friday. Somehow, we want some glimmer of hope. Thankfully, we know the end of the story! But on Friday… this day… we need to feel the loss.
Resurrection means nothing until you’ve stood at the grave. Not an open grave with nothing in it. Not a tomb with the stone rolled away.
The tomb has the body. The stone is over the entrance. All you had hoped for is completely gone. We need to feel the loss.
The heavier the loss, the sweeter the victory.
The deeper the darkness, the brighter the light.
When you stand at the occupied tomb, you understand resurrection.
Part of the “practice of resurrection” is to understand a sealed tomb.
38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. (John 19:38-40)
Lord, too often I want the shout of victory without the battle of suffering. I want to feel victory without tasting defeat. That is not your way. Your way leads us past this graveyard. Your way calls us to feel the loss so we may more fully understand the victory. I stand at this tomb today… lost. I leave Good Friday service tonight with a sense of not knowing. Let my soul wait. Let my soul HOPE. There is a deep darkness before the hope of dawn… and I choose to wait… longing for something more.