Matthew 27:55-61 (CEB)

55 Many women were watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to serve him. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

57 That evening a man named Joseph came. He was a rich man from Arimathea who had become a disciple of Jesus. 58 He came to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission to take it. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had carved out of the rock. After he rolled a large stone at the door of the tomb, he went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting in front of the tomb.


Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and Joseph, were in watchful waiting. Joseph of Arimathea prepared Jesus’ body in mourning.  Likely the Lord’s followers were in disbelief as their worst fears had come to pass. Their beloved Jesus Christ was really gone!  Where once there was this great light, darkness had fallen. Those who witnessed Jesus’ life and death were left uncertain and afraid.

It was a time of great mourning—a time of loss and of fear of the unknown. Remember when the Lord asked his disciples to stay awake and watch awhile? What else can Jesus’ followers do in grief but watch and pray? 

Now we are in a different time, but surely also one of collective mourning.  Mourning is not only a feeling of grief; it is an action. This is a time of reflection—a time to take stock of where we are and to be in community with others—however possible. It is also a time to find simple joys, wherever we can. It will be a time of collective grieving through the unity of prayer.

In this time of grieving, we also keep hope alive because we know that another kind of morning is coming: an Easter Sunday morning! Just after Jesus’ death on the cross, his followers did not know what would happen. Would Jesus really rise from the dead in three days?  But today, we know how His story unfolds. Two thousand years later, we may not know what our future holds, but we know who holds our future. Through prayer, we can collectively share our grief as we pray and give thanks for the Hope that rises this Sunday morning.

By Barbara Carlson

For Pondering & Prayer

Take time to mourn losses today by sharing your grief through either thoughts, words, song, art or action. Pick an hour and share this active mourning at the top of the hour, as you think of others sharing their griefs on this day too. Remember that collectively we mourn Jesus in the hours since his death and until tomorrow morning comes. Our Hope comes in the morning.

Prayer: Oh Jesus, our grief at your loss feels overwhelming. We know that you too know the agony of losses, particularly when all hope feels gone. As we pray together in this time, we especially share our grief for…

…Lord, help us to be able to share our laments with one another in unique and Spirit-led ways.  Strengthen us as we care for those around us, however we can. We know the grief of the world feels great right now, but we know Your love revealed in us is greater. Amen.