Unsettled. That’s the word to describe the world today. Jesus is gone. The King is dead, and there is nowhere to turn and nothing to do. Word has reached those who ran, and while they struggle with the guilt of ‘is there something I could’ve done,’ there is much more an overarching fear of ‘am I going to be next. The few who had stayed to witness the carnage, have taken his body and buried it in the tomb of a wealthy man, who volunteered it. It was a gesture of kindness to a group of people who had just seen their entire world end. It was appreciated and unexpected, unless you were looking for something just like this.
Isaiah 53:9 (ESV)
And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
But no normal person was thinking of those things now. There was too much shock, pain and grief to go around. Like a hangover that would not go away – the reality of all that has happened in the last 36 hours weighs on the people of Jerusalem. Even for those who stayed an arms length away, this had been a jarring ride. There was an earthquake when he died, and a storm that seemed to come out of nowhere. And then, there was the occurrence at the temple. They had tried to keep it silent, but word was getting out – after all those who had seen it were dismayed.
Luke 23:44-48 (ESV)
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts.
There have been many moments in my life when Jesus does not seem present. When it feels as if he has left me all alone. Through bouts of anxiety and grief I have called out his name and seemingly heard no response. There is an ominous and horrifying feeling that comes over a person when you think you may truly be on your own – it will drive you to do strange and stupid things. I can only imagine how his mother, friends, and followers must have felt on that Saturday after. The finality of death, the loneliness of their life. The hope they had for their future, gone just like that. And now it was all over but the crying. I, of course, can lean on ‘the rest’ of the story – they are the story. How hard it must have been to find closure, to move on, to experience peace – when the very one you thought was bringing it to you has been stripped away. So many questions, and no one to answer them. This is not how it was supposed to end.
Today is not a day for moving on. It is a day instead, for sitting and waiting. For awaiting what comes next, even when you do not expect it. It is as if all creation itself is crying out, groaning and gasping for breath, at the death of it’s creator. We did not know what was happening. We did not know who was in control. We did not know this was possible. The whole in our chest has over taken us, and so for now – we simply sit and we wait – and we live in the world, unsettled.