While You Were Sleeping…04.19.10

Jesus’ women friends were a lot like you and me, juggling family relationships, life details of cooking, laundry, raising kids and contributing behind the scenes to the family livelihood. Like us, they probably often felt caught between their hearts and the requirements of their relationships and roles. In Luke 24, these women watch Jesus die, and then return home to do what they can to show honor.  They get ready to return and say their final goodbyes in the way their culture allowed. They would wash his body with their loving tears and carefully procured ointments and spices, then wrap his broken nakedness in its last clothing.

“But by the time they were finished, it was the Sabbath, and so they rested all that day as required by the law.” Talk about helpless and hopeless. Talk about stuck, feeling ineffective and shaken. The law of their God to rest, to remember the goodness of creation, to remember the oh-so-long-ago miracle of freedom from slavery, and in gratefulness set aside their work and worship the Creator must have seemed empty, pointless, an exercise in futility. Goodness, peace, and freedom seemed so far away. But the evening meal with their families had to be observed- it was Passover, after all. I imagine that the rough passover bread stuck in their throats, and the acidic wine, if they drank it, must have reminded them of the smell of terror rather than joy. Later, as they tossed on their sleeping mats, perhaps sobbing, perhaps staring with burning eyes into the darkness, God did it. God linked creation with redemption by using the broken chips of the shattered image of God in evil people to make his masterpiece.

How did the women view the demands of their responsibilities and roles,  the requirements of the law that they rest and worship rather than run as they wished to Jesus’ body to honor him one last time? Impatience? A delay would only make the body smell. Resignation? After all, women didn’t have a lot of power or freedom in those days. Cynicism? Was there really a God? Why should they worship when God seemed so impotent, unable to hear or help?

This Easter, God blasted me with the timing of it all. Not just the “while we were still sinners Christ died for us” part, but the part about God being God. We’re not. While we are trying to live faithfully in our roles and relationships, following what is considered right and appropriate even when it cuts across what we want to do; when we are  sleeping, or trying to sleep, or trying to endure somehow till dawn, God does it.

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Posted by Andrea Johnson under Scripture.

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