April 20, 2019
Matthew 27; 57-66
Verses 57-61 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph,
who was also a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.
59 So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60 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. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.
A cadence is a stopping place in a piece of music. There is a full cadence at the end. The movement of the chords tells our ear that the end is come. There is also a plagal cadence. Basically it states that the end is coming but not just yet. We are half way home and rest before moving on. In Western music the piece moves to the and with a full cadence says, “Done, over, finished” and every ear agrees it is so.
By that rude definition, Holy Saturday is a plagal cadence. The awful Friday finally ended. Jesus is mercifully beyond pain. Sometimes contrary to our deepest hope, we are glad that someone is dead. If for no other reason than an ending of suffering.
Joseph from Arimathea, a wealthy aristocratic disciple came forward and did for Jesus, what perhaps no other follower could have done that day. His connections opened the Governor’s door and Pilate released Jesus’ body for burial. Joseph cared for our Lord’s body tenderly, spared no expense and contributed his own, just finished mausoleum as a burial place. Having accomplished his mission, rolling the great stone into place, he went away. There was nothing else he could do. The gang of Mary’s, led by the one from Magdala, sat down keeping vigil, as if by staying it would not final. It is a way of facing loss in increments rather than being overwhelmed by the flood at high tide.
What seemed a final cadence to everyone that Saturday, was in fact a plagal cadence instead. The end was coming but not yet. When it did come it was a symphonic glory. Let us watch, wait and faint not. Despair says, “God can do nothing.” Tis not so. God will act. Wait and pray.
In hope, in spite of the facts. John