My mother was living in a nursing facility near us in Florida when she died at age 95. Our last conversation was during the residents’ Christmas party. She was enjoying the festivities when she said, “I’m ready to go. Take me home.” When I started to roll her wheelchair toward her room, she said, “No! Take me home to Pennsylvania.” We fulfilled her last request by taking her ashes to the cemetery in the town where she lived most of her life and where many people she loved are buried.

We all make that journey. Like Joseph and Nicodemus, we carry the remains of our loved ones to the grave. But because we know the rest of the story, we do not “grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13). I received a sympathy card from two faithful friends who are the same age as my mother. They ended their message with the words, “We know there’s more.”

Before he went to prison for his resistance to Hitler, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote to his students to report the death of three friends. “Now they sleep with all the brothers who have gone before them, awaiting the great Easter Day of Resurrection. We see the cross, and we believe in the resurrection; we see death, and we believe in eternal life; we trace sorrow and separation, but we believe in an eternal joy and community.”*

Because of Jesus’ resurrection, we face the stony silence of Holy Saturday in hope. We carry our loved ones the way we will one day be carried to the grave—knowing that there’s more.

*Geffrey B. Kelly, The Cost of Moral Leadership: The Spirituality of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003), 220.

O God, grant that as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so may we await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life. Amen. (The Book of Common Prayer, 283)


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Lectionary Week
April 15–21, 2019
Scripture Overview

The readings for Holy Week focus our attention on the sacrifice made by the Messiah. The prophecies in Isaiah speak of it. The Psalms tell of confidence in God even in the midst of betrayal and suffering like that experienced by Jesus. The author of Hebrews celebrates Jesus’ death as the final and perfect sacrifice. Paul describes crucifixion as the center of our teaching as Christians. We follow these events through the eyes of two Gospel writers, particularly John. Jesus foreshadows his death in multiple ways, but even his closest followers struggle to understand and accept its meaning. Why would the Son of God experience such alienation and suffering? It is all for us, the ultimate work of love. But then he conquers the grave! Praise be to God!

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read John 13:21-32. When have you noticed darkness planting seeds of betrayal in your heart? How did you follow Jesus’ light?
Read John 13:1-7, 31b-35. What status symbols do you hold on to that keep you from following Jesus’ example of humble service?
Read Isaiah 53:1-5. On Good Friday, God enters into human suffering. When have you felt God’s presence in your suffering?
Read John 20:1-18. How has Christ found you?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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