READINGOld Testament: Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-33
Psalms: Psalms 22, 40:1-14(15-19), 54
New Testament: 1 Peter 1:10-20
Gospel: John 13:36-38, 19:38-42
Evening Psalms: 40:1-14(15-19),54
DEVOTIONAL“Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.” (John 19:38-40)
Pat and I have spent the better part of the past year preparing to retire in Louisiana, buying a new home there and carefully sorting through and packing our belongings here for the upcoming move. Although we are very excited to be closer to family and old friends, and to see what God has planned for us in the next stage of our lives, we are also very sad to be leaving Virginia. This is where we met, fell in love, got married, made our home, gave birth to our beloved children, Beau and Allison, and built our careers. Here, we made life-long friends and saw our faith and love for God grow stronger, in large part because of St. Matthew’s and our St. Matt’s family. As we experience Virginia “lasts” – including our last Christmas on Griffith Place and soon, my last day as a civil servant -- the life I have known for over 30 years is coming to an end, and I am already feeling pangs of sadness and loss.
In today’s Gospel, John describes how Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus retrieved Jesus’ body after the crucifixion and, using large amounts of expensive myrrh and aloes, wrapped Him in strips of linen and laid Him in a nearby tomb. I’m sure that Joseph and Nicodemus were filled with sorrow as they prepared Jesus’ body for burial, but what really stood out to me in the reading was their love and courage. While Jesus’ disciples hid in fear, Joseph and Nicodemus stepped forward and lovingly buried their Savior.
Heavenly Father, endings are hard. Although my heart is overflowing with gratitude for all that has been, I am sad to leave the people and home that I have loved. Please give me the courage to step forward into the unknown in faith, knowing that You will be with me every step of the way. Amen.