We sit down with tears
And call to you in your tomb
Rest gently, gently rest!
Rest, you exhausted limbs!
Your grave and tombstone
For our anguished conscience shall be
A pillow that gives peace and comfort
And the place where our souls find rest.
With the greatest content there our eyes will close in sleep.
English Translation by Francis Browne
• • •
However strange and shocking, would there be a Christian gospel were it not true that God has been found among the dying and the dead, where the absence of all life and hope and light proclaims that even God has gone away? Would there truly be forgiveness for the guilty, healing and wholeness for the broken, a home for the rejected, and a coming day of laughter for a world of tears, did God not know how to weep the tears of fear and loneliness, to endure the torments of hunger and disease, and to be identified with godforsakenness and transience?
Conversely, would there be a Christian gospel were it not true that God is self-unveiled only sub contrario, that is, in the very opposite of Godness, hidden amid the outcasts of the earth who, often in the name of God and of the church, are rejected and despised, and who, by the standards of the world, count for nothing except to live and die that the powerful might become more powerful still? The triumph of God over the grave of Jesus would truly be — as has all to often been assumed — permission for the followers of Jesus to flaunt their plumage of superiority in the face of others, were it not that God in humility ineffable has triumphed through the grave, for its many dis-graced, defeated victims and in the form of one of them. That form, first seen in a cradle, later on a cross, and finally as a corpse, is the shape of resurrection, and there is no other. Let others dream of divine salvation for the righteous and the wise, for those able to transcend the flesh and rise to heights of timelessness and sanctity; the gospel of Christ is for the mortal and the carnal, the earthbound and the sinner. For it was just as such a one that Jesus lived, and still as such a one, and in death, are God’s true power and life at work. It is to Christ’s all-too-human family, the fellowship of the weak, the guilty, and the moribund, that God’s gracious, loving hands stretch out; and only those prepared to suffer and to die in solidarity with Christ, acknowledging their own neediness and brokenness, truly know the sufficiency of grace and can witness to its healing.
• Alan E. Lewis, Between Cross and Resurrection: A Theology of Holy Saturday