I cannot help but think of Jesus on this Good Friday, between " Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Luke 23:34 and John 19:30 "It is finished!" God come to earth, low as a baby in a stable and born in a manger; died perfect and blameless as a criminal on the cross... suffering for mankinds sins, dying a death we deserved.
His disciples... one betrayed him, one denied knowing him three times..... His own people gave Him over and let a robber go free... the soldiers divided His clothing, the rest watched and waited...
My dad met me outside of the hospital and went with me inside... the family was stunned, my dad was stunned. His face, not his... not like a man either but more crumpled like a boy. His dad had died. They... I don't even know who "They" is... the family, the hospital staff... I don't know... "They" don't know what to say, but "They" let us cousins go back and say good-bye. I can't describe that part... He was somewhere between life just a few hours before and Heaven.
The day Papa died was a dark day; It was a sunny summer morning, beautiful really... for us though, it was a dark day. We left that hospital without him and went back to their home... someone had come behind the commotion of the first responders that had taken him away and cleaned up all trace of the evidence from his last bit of life. We went back and looked around and waited.... waited for the air to change. Waited for his chair not to be empty. Waited for the person that would not come.
A few days later I went with my grandmother, dad and aunts to the funeral home where he'd be prepared. They picked out an urn and somewhere along the way she picked up his flag, the symbol of his service to our country.... All very nice things... but the gigantic Papa-sized hole remains.
Opening the Bible this evening reading about the day the Savior of the world died, I came across something I had never connected before... Jesus buried in Joseph's Tomb... John 19:38-42
After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took Jesus. And Nicodemus, who first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as was the custom of the Jews to bury, Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews' Preparation Day, for the tomb was near by.
He's missed a lot of life here on this earth, or rather we've missed him. He's missed my dad's complete transformation from the bondage of alcohol to freedom inside the family of Christ. He's missed all of his great-grandchildren being born... and we've missed holiday after holiday without him.
I suppose this all comes to mind for me because of the date approaching, his birthday... which also is Easter... a symbol for me of happy times celebrating my grandfather with Easter Egg hunts and the Easter Bunny... attending church service as a family followed by ham and cheesy potato casserole.
This year we will celebrate the same, we will serve our church in a second annual Easter Egg hunt, we will attend church as a family. We will hear the message of Christ and his Resurrection. We will have dinner and my dad, the current Papa with his salt and pepper hair, slowly turning silver, will fill a spot in my children's hearts just like mine did...
Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other, disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have lain Him." Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in.
Then Simon Peter came, following him and went into the tomb; and he saw linen cloths laying there and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not laying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed.
For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went to their own homes.
But Mary stood outside the by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stood down low and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because, they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." Now when she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.
Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned to him and said, "Rabboni!" (which is to say Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father in Heaven, but go to my brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'" John 20; 1-17