Good Friday…so little to say is good about it. Hope is gone. A friend and savior has died. There was a terrible storm, and something happened to the curtain in the temple.
And it says in Luke that Joseph of Arimathea – a rich follower of Jesus – went to Pilate and asked to give Jesus a proper resting place. He, Nicodemus and the women, including Mary and Martha, gathered the body and with the military guards buried Jesus in the tomb, and then they all went to their homes.
Continuing on Mary and Martha…Luke 23:56 “Then they went home and prepared spices ad perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” (TNIV) The Message Bible says “Then they went back to prepare burial spices and perfumes. They rested quietly on the Sabbath as commanded.”
I realize this is a different time and a different culture, but it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the discipline that states that even though your future is suddenly in turmoil, all that you thought was true might not be as you believed, this personal – spiritual – political power that you had dedicated your heart to has suddenly been taken away. You were along to watch as the body was placed in the tomb, the stone rolled in front of the doorway, and the guards were standing in their formation. Even though all of this just occurred…
For the next 30 hours, you are commanded to be quiet – Sabbath.
Though the world is in upheaval – Sabbath.
Though you may not have prepared food for the day, as the day was spent burying your friend – Sabbath.
Though you want to scream and hit something – Sabbath.
I like to think I’m a modern woman. And thanks to some circumstances, I do have to be in control of my own life. I have to own my issues, my faults. I don’t have a partner in this whole thing. So when my world falls apart, I have had to become wired to learn to fix it. To take matters into my own hands. To stay up all night working and striving and re-planning my next steps. I also get off on endorphins, so when the world starts caving in, I go for a jog, or to the gym, or I kick the crap out of a pillow.
But no. Sabbath. It’s not about you. When the world is caving in and it looks as if all you strived for, all you believed in, all you needed is gone. Sabbath.
When I want to scream, “it’s not fair” or “this isn’t what I signed up for” or “what the hell was that all about.” Sabbath.
When I most feel compelled to let my adrenaline kick in and go take on the world Braveheart (or I guess more Joan of Arc) style. Sabbath.
This concept is so foreign to me. The essential of quiet, of realizing that I’m not in control. It’s so against my American mindset. All my friends know that for me to disconnect from my MacBook, Blackberry and iPod is virtually impossible. I use the excuse that I’m self-employed and need to stay connected. But if I truly believe that God is in control and I need to listen and trust and hear his heart, then I have to Sabbath.
If I don’t turn off the noise, how am I supposed to hear?
What did the women do on this particular Sabbath? Sit in stunned silence? Pray? Sleep? Listen to their heartbeat as the seconds turn into minutes and a day feels like eternity? I would think they might have hoped that Sabbath would last forever so they wouldn’t have to face the unknown days to come.
But if I listen hard enough on the Sabbath for a still small voice to lead me, I think it would take me on Sunday at daybreak to see an empty tomb and hope rising again. And I did nothing to earn this hope, I just had to believe his path is true.