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Station XIV

Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mark 13:46

After Jesus is laid in the tomb, we find ourselves with his disciples who are gathered together in fear, sorrow and hopelessness. We have denied and desserted him. We have stepped on the fumi-e. There is nothing more to be said or done. It is painful to  leave the Stations of the Cross at this point. But just as Nuehaus suggested that we linger with Good Friday, Makoto Fujimura invites his readers to live into the darkness and silence of Holy Saturday.

Many years ago, I was describing the Good Friday liturgy at my Episcopal church to a friend from a non-liturgical background. He objected to the idea of the service ending in darkness without talking about Easter. I explained that the way to look at this was to see Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter services as parts of one entire liturgy; to see the story told over the course of what is known as the Triduum or three days. He did not find this satisfactory and asked, “but what if I would die before Easter?”

As we conclude these meditations on the Stations of the Cross, we remain in the silence and darkness of Holy Saturday. Is there a hint of a sunrise? I will leave it to Neuhaus to finish this station and point us forward.

Some say that on Holy Saturday Jesus went to hell in triumph, to free the souls long imprisoned there. Others say he descended to a death deeper than death, to embrace in his love even the damned. We do not know. Scripture, tradition, and pious writings provide hints and speculations, but about this most silent day it is perhaps best to observe the silence. 

…. Meanwhile, if we keep very still, there steals upon the silence a song of Easter that was always there. On the long mourners’ bench of the eternal pity, we raise our heads, blink away our tears and exchange looks that dare to question, “Could it be?”



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