When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed.
(This post is the last of a Lenten series on praying the Stations of the Cross - a devotional practice that is said to have started with Mary after the death and resurrection of Jesus. To start at the beginning, see the overview provided on March 5, 2023, and then go from there.)
The people who are following Jesus attentively (like Joseph of Arimathea) get to participate as helpers in Kingdom work. Sometimes we’re not sure what God is up to, and we don’t yet see any resurrection happening or even know it’s a possibility. Joseph shows us how to use that time of uncertainty – see, advocate, care, tend, show respect and compassion, and give of our resources for others. We won’t be disappointed.
This period of waiting in between death and resurrection is so challenging. Even when Jesus prepares us ahead of time for the uncertainty, we still don’t know what’s going on. We may not even be aware that anything is going on, and we don’t know what we’re missing until we look back later to see. But God is at work in the quiet, full of mystery, and we can never know it all.
In this particular moment of quiet, we now know that a great spiritual shaking up was occurring as Jesus descended to hell to proclaim life-giving deliverance to the dead. What a trip that must have been! (I have questions for God about that...)
It is our deaths and our letting go that bring new life. Wait for it. When all seems lost, be ready to learn how everything has actually been found. Even when it’s dark.
And in the meantime, be like Joseph and lend a hand to the kingdom work in whatever way you know how. You won't be disappointed in the end!
A note about mindfulness
Mindfulness practices help us accept the uncertainty of waiting when things seem dark, hard, and hopeless. They build resilience, teaching us to open up to what is happening instead of resisting out of fear. In this way, mindfulness can be used by Christians who seek openness to what God is doing in times of dark uncertainty – it can help us work with God in the midst of the quiet instead of against him.
(For a list of mindfulness practices that help to stay engaged and attentive when things are uncertain, check out the Guides for Practice available here.)
Wrapping up the stations
Thank you for reflecting and praying with me this Lenten season through the Stations of the Cross. We've reached the final station, and it's time now to be quiet in the grief and awe of Christ's sacrifice for us. At the same time, Christians are people who know resurrection is on the way - so I hope you'll meet me back here on Easter Day to celebrate our God who is all about life. See you then!
I am Irene Kraegel. I am licensed as a clinical psychologist and teach mindfulness on a faith-based university campus. I practice mindfulness because it opens me up to God (a.k.a. brings joy). I am writing here in hopes of sharing some of my experiences and thoughts related to the practice of mindfulness in the life of a Christian. Thanks for reading!
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