March 31 - Sarah Yates


Job 14:1-14 or Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24

Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16, 1 Peter 4:1-8

Matthew 27:57-66 or John 19:38-42

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. – Matthew 27:57-61

At the beginning of Lent, I thought it would be a good time to take down my Advent wreath. When I lifted it from my desk, it left behind a perfect ring of needles. I laughed, snapped a photo to send to my mom, and swept them away. I pulled the first barren twig from the reusable frame, then paused. I carefully placed the wreath back down.

It became my Lent wreath.

No candles, no needles.

No light, no life.

Lent Wreath - Sarah Yates.jpg

To me, Lent is an extension of Good Friday, just as Advent is an extension of Christmas Eve. During Advent, we await God’s birth. We anticipate Jesus’ life; His physical body to walk among us. The promised Messiah is coming to redeem us. During Lent, God is dead. Jesus has not risen; His body sealed in the tomb. The Chosen One has failed.

I reflect on what must have gone through the disciples’ minds that day—these men who dropped everything: Their families, homes, traditions, careers, and social standing. Forsook them to follow, and to follow what? A pot-stirrer, a rule breaker, a cryptic pedagogue, a homeless man, a deranged man. One who summoned the powers of God or the Devil; a convicted and condemned blasphemer.

No wonder Peter denied him! Mere ostracism would seem a mercy to these blasphemers-by-association. Furthermore, what must have been their spiritual state? Before, they had nothing earthly but everything spiritually. Now they had nothing at all.

And that is the painful—and powerful—thing about Lent: not that there is no hope, but that there was hope and now it’s gone. Stolen. False. Wasted. Vain.

- Sarah Yates