Reflections for

Holy Saturday, Mar 31, 2018

Job 14:1-14 or Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24; Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16; 1 Peter 4:1-8; Matthew 27:57-66 or John 19:38-42

Poetry

“He descended into hell”

(From the Apostles’ Creed)

This unlikely tomb
    this once plundered vault
    this meager poke of broken power
    this moldy hole in the foothills
    of Zion and of the soul
    this piddling down to fissure and fault
    this dry womb
    delivered us the earth angel
    Jes-us
    just like us
    only wanting out more than in
    yet staying there long enough
    to cup one last beatitude
    for those in ruin
    and touch the souls of hell’s angels
    on his way here.

Poetry

Disposal of the body

So Jesus’ wealthy friends did prove useful in the end.
All four narratives seem to agree on this.
Joseph, after all—the one from Arimathea, not his Dad—
Joseph pulled strings with Pilate. Did he have to call in
a few favors earned in questionable ways
so he could claim possession of the corpse?
Old Nicodemus too, Jesus’ night-shift friend from the Sanhedrin,
Nicodemus makes his own fleeting reprise,
carting along a ton—almost—of fragrant spices,
nard and myrrh (again!), for preservation purposes.
Although where he got such pricey stuff,
late on a holiday Friday afternoon, is never quite explained.
And that convenient, fresh-hewn, garden tomb;
even back in the day, sepulchres such as those
did not come ten-a-penny! Add in all the hired help
they must have needed to get stuff from here to there
and, of course, to roll and seal that massive rock . . .
Whole thing makes you wonder—doesn’t it?—
wonder if that narrow needle’s eye got prized wide open—
camel-size, at least—to accommodate these late allies.

Poetry

Cricket song

My head clangs, my skin congeals
when I imagine your final terrain:
the moldering gloom of the cave,
giant stone corking the mouth
to seal your body in—
you bid me to imitate you, even in this?
Until you rise, Love, I am useless.
Stretching in a long
rectangle of wall-shade,
I pretend my hand crumbles
dank sepulchral dirt. Listen.
In the corner, one cricket abides.
Soft-shelled and tooth-white,
he chirrs his dwarfed wings,
persistent song his answer
to the absence of light.

 

Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 the Consultation on Common Texts. Used by permission.