Two reflections on this often ignored day....
Once so many generations, millennia, ago the
Angel of Death crossed the liminal divide and
how many died of the first born of a whole nation.
Death visited; an appointment, that might
have been avoided, was kept. How many died?
Later, much later, no angel this time, but armed
soldiers bearing state sponsored writ, descended
across literal space, from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.
Death visited; fear driven massacre, killing how many?
One escaped, forewarned, until
now, lowered carefully, can we say despondently,
certainly sadly, family and a few friends; he lays
across his mother’s lap as she once suckled
him, he lies beyond life. Somewhere. In a
borrowed tomb. Hastily wrapped and spiced—
conventions must be observed—the memory of
that earlier angel is still alive, and the rescue
he brought still worth remembering. Kairos:
all death joined in one death. Liminal space
created afresh and Passover now threshold,
no longer only memory,
thanks, this one time, to this one death.
+ + +++ + +
“As the waters of a lake dwindle, or as a river shrinks and runs dry,
so mortal man lies down, never to rise until the very sky splits open.
If a man dies, can he live again” (Job 14:11-2).
“You have a guard,” said [Pilate]; “go and make the grave
as secure as you can” (Matthew 27:65, emphasis mine).
One can only speculate at the soul-deep abyss
the disciples stood on the edge of, watching their
Lord and friend die—humiliating death that it was;
the reality was, “He is dead and buried.”
A dark night—a dark night of the soul.
Abandoned. Alone. Struggling with
their own perfidy, with the
Betrayal, wondering as humans do, if Judas
were the only traitor—fearful, then,
of every knock at the door behind which
they hid; "cowered" is the more appropriate word.
Apparently they didn’t even hang around to help
Joseph entomb the Body. This secret disciple
of Jesus, now more brave than the Eleven, who
goes to Pilate—he outs himself, we would say—
Let me have the Body.
Paralyzed with fear. They hide in the room
behind locked door. Probably with a password.
What did they talk of? Did they talk at all?
Perhaps sitting in corners, or at the table where,
Hours before, they ate together with him, staring,
furtive, darting glances,
recriminating looks—or did they simply stare,
deep into the darkest abyss: their souls...or into
the floor or ceiling—What now?
Did any hope linger? Were there those
fleeting, sudden flashes of light, of memory,
a heart-beating moment when a word
he spoke rose into their conscious mind—
In three days?