At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.  — John 19:41

 

Eventually, the women arrived back at Martha’s house in Bethany.  John accompanied them.  It was obvious to Mary and me that John was different.  No longer  the youngest and, thus, most protected by the friends of Jesus, John now seemed more mature, as if he had been given a new role to play in life.  And so he had.  It was said that Jesus had spoken from the cross, asking John to care for his mother, Mary.  The two clung to one another now, Mary gathering strength from John; John emanating the strength of a man with a mission.

“I didn’t know where else to go.”  Joseph of Arimathea had arrived at Martha’s doorstep.  The room was silent as Joseph approached Jesus’ mother.  Then, in a clear and steady voice, Mary asked, “Where have they taken my son’s body?”

With a quick glance at Nicodemus, Joseph told Mary they had placed Jesus’ body in a tomb nearby.  “We did the best we could, Mary, in the short time before the Sabbath,” he said, “We wrapped his body in fresh, white linens and Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, almost 75 pounds!  My family owns the tomb and it has never been used.  Mary, I promise we laid your son to rest in an abundance of love!”

Nicodemus confirmed what Joseph said, adding that the High Priest had posted guards at the tomb.  Caiaphas wanted to be certain Jesus’ body would stay put inside the tomb.

I didn’t understand why the High Priest would concern himself with a dead Jesus.  I wanted to talk with Mary, but she was gone.  I knew where she would be, so I climbed up to the roof and there she was.  Despite her best effort, Mary had fallen asleep curled into a ball and holding tight to her new kitten.  I laid down next to them.

Imagio Divina — Divine Imagining — encourages us to enter into stories of the Bible using our imaginations for God to talk with us.  Begin by reading a piece of scripture, closing your eyes, and allowing yourself to enter the story.  Who is there?  Choose a character that you identify with and become him or her.  What do you see?  What do your smell?  What do you hear? What do you touch?  Allow yourself to weave the scripture story into your imagination, braiding the biblical details with those you see in your mind’s eye. Many journal their journeys into antiquity following their Imagio Divina practice.  For everyone, prayer is the natural conclusion.

 

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