Reprinted with Permission by Christian Peacemaker Teams
The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb.
by Lorne Friesen
The Burial of Jesus: It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid. Mark 15:42-47
The body no longer bleeds, the breath is gone, the skin is cold to the touch. Life is gone. Is this possible? Is it really happening? The One who loved so much, is now lifeless and cold. And so the body is prepared for burial. But it is not only the body that was buried. The many hopes and dreams that were inspired by Jesus must also be buried. The disciples had chosen to leave their old profession and their old perspectives on life. Now with the burial of the body, the disciples also found it necessary to bury their newly chosen way of life. All those who had followed Jesus these past years, now found themselves bewildered, confused and without direction, without a future.
War and military occupation have a similar impact upon people. According to the B’Tselem records for 2007, 373 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed as a result of the war of occupation. Families bury their loved ones with a clear knowledge that the death was needless and violent. But, families bury more than the body of their loved ones. Military occupation means that they must also bury many of the hopes, dreams, a normal, healthy way of life, when a military power occupies their land.
Palestinian families tell us that under the occupation they have lost much more than just their freedom. Many live with the fear of home invasions or even the demolition of their homes by bulldozers. The Palestinians have been robbed of their security and dignity. One Palestinian father said, “I am walking dead”. Israeli families tell us that they do not think they should have to live with the fear of attacks of rockets and suicide bombers. As people bury their loved ones, they also lay to rest their hopes and dreams for a future.
This is the stark desolation of Good Friday.