When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
~ Matthew 27:54
About this time the disciples are beginning to wake up. Tired, weary-eyed, and hurting. It's their first day without Jesus. He is not there to greet them. He is not with them as they sit around and wonder what dusty road they would walk today, or who they might see. They are scattered and trying to collect their thoughts.
Last week I stopped to visit a woman who's husband died two months ago. His hats are still hanging on hooks by the back door. The living room, where her husband's hospital bed had sat during the last few weeks of his life, now looks empty, as a single chair sits where her husband breathed his last breath. Nothing is really the same. She shares how she sits at the kitchen table in the morning, listens to the same radio program, and stares at the kitchen door, hoping that he will walk in again. Her loss is measured by days, "Since he died."
It hasn't been twenty-four hours yet, and the loss of Jesus is real. I can only imagine what everyone was thinking.
Before the tomb can be found empty, there is an emptiness that has spread among those who walked with and knew Jesus. They are missing his presence, his words, and his eyes that looked beyond what the disciples saw. I have to wonder if people gathered where the cross stood, looked at the blood-stained ground, and talked about what they saw? Like the scene where a crime occurred today, were there items brought and placed, marking where a life was lost?
We are feeling the emptiness of a mother who watched her son die. She remembers the first kicks in her womb, and cannot remove the final images from yesterday. She tries to eat something because she is hungry, but stops short, and begins to cry again.
A few of the disciples remember those initial words to, "Follow me," and are now thinking that they may be about to experience the same death as Jesus.
Today is about the emptiness we feel when we do not feel the presence of Jesus. It is the reminder that there are simply those moments when we feel hopelessness and pain. When we have isolated ourselves, and rolled a stone between us and God. We are remembering our losses, and the pain associated with our wounds. We are empty.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams is the author of the book, "Remember Me When..." and is a former hospice chaplain and pastor.