Easter Eve, grief and prayer

This last day of Holy Week is Easter Eve or Holy Saturday. It is the day after Good Friday. On Good Friday Christians remember Jesus' crucifixion.

Tomorrow the great celebration of Easter begins but if we try to rush into that joy too quickly I think we miss something important.

  • We miss entering into the desolation and grief of Jesus' mother Mary or of his close friends like Peter, John Mary Magdalene and others.
  • We miss sharing with all who this Easter weekend are mourning the death of someone close.
  •  We miss getting in touch with our private griefs and sorrows and finding a way to express them. The deepest joy is that joy that comes after tears.

Joy will come 'in the morning', but for today it can be helpful to find the space to pause, to stay in imagination with those who watched Jesus' burial and who grieved. This is how the writer of Matthew's Gospel describes Jesus' burial and the sealing of his tomb:

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus: then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there sitting opposite the tomb. 
The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, "Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive. 'After three days I will rise again' therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day: otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, 'He has been raised from the dead,' and the last deception would be worse than the first." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard of soldiers: go make it as secure as you can." So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone. (Matthew 27: 57 - 66 NRSV)

Last year in Holy Week: Easter Eve I posted a brief reflection on the theme of staying close to Jesus even if means waiting beside a tomb. You might like to take a look at that.

Or, whatever your needs or concerns for others are today, join in this prayer by Jacques Bertier of Taize:

O Lord, hear my prayer.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
When I call, answer me.
O Lord, here my prayer.
O Lord, here my prayer.
Come and listen to me.

Or just listen to that prayer with a series of images to aid reflection, posted on YouTube by Maureen Ward.