"We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4
Today is not the exact day, but two years ago, on Holy Saturday I woke up and thought my best friend had died. She had been lost on Mount Hood since Sunday and I didn’t know until Thursday that anything was wrong. To experience the raw emotion of the possible death of an intimate friend only to find out in three days that she was found alive is probably the closest I’ll get to a replica of the Easter story.
This week we celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. I love how each year it grows more meaningful, like Christmas in reverse. Getting older means greater joy. The past few days I’ve been meditating on the burial of Christ. I’ve always thought about His death and His resurrection, but I easily forget that He was laid in a tomb for three days. My life this week, in a myriad of ways, has reflected the significance of burial. Physically, mentally, and emotionally I’ve been brought to the Jesus who lay in a tomb.
On this side of the story, the emotions and meaning are radically different than what the disciples must have felt. They didn’t know ‘He is risen!’ and were burdened with fear, doubt, denial, and despair. But for us, burial is an invitation to rest and waiting. And, as CS Lewis puts it so well, “Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead,” it becomes a place of hope, the expectation that all things will be made new.
Before burial one is anointed, prepared for a new name and another land. Dry bones anticipate breath as they lay in the dark or the dust. Community is gained when we live to die and learn to rest like the saints before and around us. If we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake that His life may be manifest in our mortal bodies, then Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Resurrection Sunday should become the rhythm of our lives. Always willing to die, always ready to rest, and always waiting for resurrection.
Those outside the tomb must grieve and walk away, but if we place our broken hearts in shadow of Christ’s hand we will be the first to see the sunrise. I will wait in darkness for my Savior to call me out to tread the dawn.
"For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his." Romans 6:5