The family and friends sit in folding chairs under a green canopy. Some who usually cannot stop talking do not know what to say. A few who did not cry at the funeral are crying now.
The minister reads Psalm 23 and talks just enough to feel like she has done her job. She closes with a prayer and a benediction.
Friends form a line to hug the family and say something comforting. The cemetery workers lower the casket into the ground. A family member throws dirt on the coffin. People slowly drift away.
She is the last one at the grave. She has waited until everyone else has left. The last one there is often the one who wants to be there the least.
She wants to cry without being seen. She wants to remember. She wants to talk to the deceased, because he would understand what she’s feeling. She isn’t ready for life without the one she loves.
Joseph, a respected member of the Jewish Council, asks the Roman prefect if he can bury Jesus’ body. When Pilate receives confirmation that Jesus is dead, he gives Joseph permission. They take Jesus down from the cross, wrap him in a linen shroud, place him in the tomb, and roll a stone across the opening. After everyone else has left, Mary Magdalene and Mary, mother of Joses, stay.
This is a good day to stand alone in the cemetery, cry without being seen, and talk to Jesus, because he understands what we’re feeling. We need to remember and give thanks for what Jesus did for the world. We need to hold on to the hope of Christ.
What do you need to think, pray, and remember on the day before Easter?
God, help me find my way to the solitude of Christ’s grave, to contemplate your love and hope. Amen.