by Melinda Creech, Guest Blogger for Lent
The thirteenth line of the sonnet, “Those who remained took all that they could save,” recalls Jesus body being taken down from the cross. As Jesus’ followers gathered up his lifeless body, they must have felt so empty and hopeless. They did what they could to honor the one who had been so dishonored over the last few hours. Their action of wrapping the body in linen cloth was at least something they could do at a time when they felt so lost.
We here in the South do something similar. We have a funeral meal. I recall the words from “Death in the Family” by James A. Autry about a time not so long ago that some of us can still recall.
Saying all the things to be said
Doing all the things to be done
Like orderly spirits
Freshening beds from the grieving night
Poking up fires gone cold
Filling the table and sideboard
Then gathering there to urge and cajole
As if the dead rest easier on our full stomachs
Lord how Miss Anne would have loved that country ham
No sadness so great it cannot be fed away
By the insistent spirits
That banana cake is her very own recipe
I remember how she loved my spoon bread
She canned the berries in this cobbler
And suddenly we are transformed.
For this pane I have tried to make a cut out image of what is called the Deposition, when Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body down from the cross. This is just my sketch-cut. I am finding it very difficult to make images of Jesus.
The last Station of the Cross is represented by this line of the sonnet, “They laid your bones inside a borrowed grave.” It is again ironic that the one who owns the cattle on a thousand hills is buried in a borrowed grave. Psalm 50: 10, 11 says
For every wild animal in the forest belongs to me, as well as the cattle that graze on a thousand hills. I keep track of every bird in the hills, and the insects of the field are mine.
We know the rest of the story. We know that on the third day, Jesus rose from the dead, conquering sin and death. But that night as the disciples laid the body of their teacher, wrapped in linen, in a borrowed grave, what sadness must have filled their chests.
For this pane I have chosen the image of an empty tomb, not the one on Easter morning, but the one on Saturday night, the one awaiting the linen-shrouded body of Jesus.