The weariness of terrorism and racism in our news last week can exhaust us. There are times when we truly wonder: How long, O Lord?”
The psalm in my reading this morning gives me a reminder on perspective:
“You love evil more than good; you love lying more than speaking what is right. Selah You love all destructive words; you love the deceiving tongue. But God will take you down permanently; he will snatch you up, tear you out of your tent, and uproot you from the land of the living! Selah”
We fail too often to stop and mourn. Orlando hurts today. A community hurts today.
We can fight another day on all the issues…
Lord, let us mourn.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. (Rom. 12:15-16)
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.
What puzzles me is the decision for the Chiefs to go on with the game tomorrow. The players apparently want to play. I can understand that to a point. However, what it shows, in my opinion, is our inability to deal with grief. Instead of stopping to process to what happened to a teammate, the opposite thing happened. It is the American thing. We don’t know what to do, so we decide to work.
Somehow, we think it “honors” those have died. We need to stop. We need to grieve. We need to mourn. Our souls hurt. Football… or work… just doesn’t matter. Couldn’t we have the courage to say, “Look… for this day… football just isn’t it. I need to stop and mourn the death of my friend.”