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.
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