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Archive for March 30th, 2020


Van der Weyden: Descent from the Cross

Van der Weyden: Descent from the Cross

Monday, March 30, 2013

John 19:38-42: Sepulcher

Today we reflect on our world, its intercultural connections, and the stress that a pandemic can bring to us. In this re-post from Holy Saturday 2013, we have an opportunity to rest in Christ as he moves from the cross to the tomb. We have the opportunity to allow God to enter the holy space of our being.

Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it.  So he came and took his bodyNicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds.  They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with spices, according to the Jewish burial custom.  Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden there was a tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.  So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by. (John 19:38-42)

Our lives are fast-moving, quick marching toward an invisible completion; and in the busyness of our days and nights we forget that the tomb is always close at hand.

Our calendars are full of commitments or appointments, comings or goings, chores and tasks; and in our hurriedness we put aside the gentle reminders that the tomb is always nearby.

Our work life, our play life, and our prayer life call us constantly to disparate messages that inevitably weave into one another; and in the complexity of our days and nights we muddle the message that the tomb is always a short step away.

Our lives are but a quick-spiraling wisp in God’s time and space; yet we are eternal and ever-present in the promise of Christ’s risen, mystical body.  Our conflicts and breaches are all healed with Christ’s descent into death and his rebirth into life; each of us will traverse this same road with Christ by our side.

Our modern world shuns death and eulogizes longevity, doubting the miracle offered to us by Jesus’ willingness to take us with him on his resurrection journey as his sisters and brothers. Rather than reject the nearness of the sepulcher, let us welcome the presence of the tomb that is always close at hand. Let us allow our Good Friday sorrow to rise with Christ in Easter joy. Let us celebrate the presence of the sepulcher, the only road to eternal life. And let us always remember that the tomb is at all times near at hand; the tomb is forever . . . quite close by.


To spend some time with the painting by Van de Weyden, click on the image above or go to: http://www.artbible.info/art/large/323.html or http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/famous-paintings/descent-from-the-cross-weyden.htm or http://music-and-art-45.hubpages.com/hub/Rogier-Van-Der-Weyden-Descent-From-The-Cross

This image is from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Descent_from_the_Cross_(van_der_Weyden)

Many of Christ’s faithful believe that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City of Jerusalem is built over the places where Jesus was crucified and buried. As we open our hearts and minds to Christ’s presence, we lay ourselves in the tomb. We may want to visit sites that tells us interesting information about this church and these stories, go to: http://www.churchoftheholysepulchre.net/ and http://www.timesofisrael.com/the-church-that-never-sleeps/

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