Joseph of Arimathea: Am I to have the last word, then? I, who am most on the edges of this story? Even my friend Nicodemus, who helped me prepare Jesus' body for burial, even he has his own chapter in the tale. But what do you know about me?
That I am a rich man, rich enough to have my own tomb set aside, waiting for my death. That I come from Arimathea – a place you’ve never heard of, a village in the hill country of Ephraim, in Judea, 20 miles northwest of Jerusalem. That I am a prominent member of the Council, the Jewish leadership, like Nicodemus. That I was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, because, unlike my Lord, I was afraid of what my brethren on the Council would do to me if they knew what I believed. Who I believed in. I was not ready to lose my position, my livelihood, my life. I was not ready to die.
But I can offer what I can offer. That’s all any of us can do. I had a tomb, and Jesus’ broken, bloodied body needed a place of rest. I had the connections to approach Pilate and get permission to take Jesus’ body away from that place of skulls. I had the means to provide the proper linens and spices for burial, so that Jesus’ body in death would receive the care it never had in life. I offered what I could. What can you offer?
God never asks us to give something we don’t have… and among all that we do have, there is much that can advance God’s mission of restoration and renewal in this world. What might you give?
Today, offer the gift of time and worship - if you are in the DC area, please come to our Great Vigil of Easter at St. Columba’s. It is a magical, mysterious, multi-media experience that takes us from the shadows of death into the light of Life. (4201 Albemarle Street, NW, Washington DC) Bring bells!