Holy Saturday 2020 - Women with Him: A Feminist Celebration of Easter

Saturday, April 11, 2020

The Tomb in Two Parts

Inside the tomb, it echoes
Our sobs rolling around the chamber
We carry the body
Our finest linens for covering
We lay our bodies over our Lord
Our wounds are wide
We are women of loneliness

Outside the tomb, it stifles
Our sobs bumping into stone
We remember the body
Our linens left behind
We lay our bodies against the door
Our wounds are bare
We are women of emptiness


I used to be afraid of going to funerals and seeing an open casket. There was something about a body drained and emptied of soul that filled me with worry. But when my husband's parents died a few years ago, I watched the way death brought about a loving proximity that I had been so fearful of.

Bodies filled spaces and time melted into one endless night. Bodies brought food and bodies draped across chairs. But what was the most unexpected was the way living bodies laid themselves across and beside the deceased. As if this was one more attempt to hold onto something that had now slipped away.


In the walk from the cross on the hill to the tomb below, I imagine women in proximity. Their living bodies colliding with the dead and the dying. Their warm skin tending to clod flesh. Their supple lips kissing rigid cheeks. The women who knew Jesus in his life were now trying to cradle, tend, and hold him in his death.

But you care for the living differently than you do the dying. A body laid in a tomb doesn't kiss you back. It doesn't ask you to turn out the light or reach for you on the way out. It is cold and still and empty. And yet, I imagine these women draped over Jesus. One at his feet remembering the sway of his walk. One at his belly remembering his guttural laugh. One at his head tracing the lines of his smile.

And as the rolling stone sealed the tomb of their brother, son, Savior, and friend, I imagine time slowed. I imagine the women begging the guard, just a few minutes more. Let us lay with him a few more minutes. I can see them craning their necks, unsure of what is to come, but always keeping their eyes on their Lord.
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