John Day 36: The Burial of Jesus

Station XIV Jesus is Laid in the Tomb by Gwyneth Leech. Commissioned by Saint Paul's Episcopal Church in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Gospel of John Reading Plan
Day 36 Reading:
John 19:31-42

Bringing the Word to Life
Spend some time smelling the different spices in your kitchen. As you smell them, reflect on Jesus’ burial.

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. – John 19:40 (NRSV)

A dread and marvelous mystery we see come to pass this day. He whom none may touch is seized; he who looses Adam from the curse is bound. He who tries our hearts and inner thoughts is unjustly brought to trial. He who closed the abyss is shut in prison. He before whom the powers of heaven stand with trembling, stands before Pilate; the Creator is struck by the hand of a creature. He who comes to judge the living and the dead is condemned to the cross; the Destroyer of hell is enclosed in a tomb.- Byzantine liturgy

Observation
The bodies need to come down from the crosses due to the Sabbath. The soldiers break the leg bones of the two thieves so they will die quickly. Jesus is dead already, but they thrust a spear in his side to make sure. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus bury Jesus in a tomb that had never been used before.

Application
Joseph and Nicodemus are both secret followers of Jesus. Yet one comes forward to ask Pilate for Jesus’ body and the other brings an extravagant amount of spices for his burial. I imagine the sorrow, pain and regret as they carefully wash him, anoint him, and wrap him. “Would things have been different if I had spoken up? If I had made my faith known?”

My prayer came out as a poem today…
Hebrews 2:9 (NRSV)
We see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

The Taste of Death
I am held. I need to be held. I will be held.
I am held captive by downfall and falsehood
or I am held by Christ
whose outstretched arms free me from fear and captivity
Who holds me? Death or Christ?

Great Love bends low to us
Suffers with us and for us
Tastes death so we might be free

What does death taste like?
Amniotic fluid and stable hay
Breast milk and sawdust
Bread broken before sour wine
Salty tears, bitter fear
Ashes to ashes, mud pie
Blood and water served on a centurion’s spear
Linen, spices or stone?

It’s hard to taste anything when your lips are cracked and bloody
Your tongue swollen and stuck to the roof of your mouth

Word made Flesh
Flesh made Mercy
Embodied Love
Wondrous Love
Surprising Sympathetic Savior
Magnificent Christ
Taste and see that the Lord is good

I am held. I need to be held. I will be held.
Hold me, Jesus

© 2011 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

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For more information on the Gospel of John Reading Plan, click here

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

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