“Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.” Matthew 27:59-61 (NLT)
Which words? So many to choose from.
The word is “left”. After taking the body, wrapping it in the linen cloth and placing it in the new tomb the story ends with Joseph rolling the stone over the entrance and then leaving. Other people sit across from the tomb and watch, but Joseph left. He walked away.
And then he left
He had washed the tent wrapping
Soiled by blood and
Carefully folded the frame with
Not a bone broken
And wrapped it in a cloth
He didn’t sit somewhere
To admire the craftsmanship
Of the tomb –
His tomb, newly hewed
Or run a finger along the dry stone
He held no vigil
No candle to burn
The body was
Not there to be watched.
He closed the door
The story might not have ended
There might have been another scene
An encore, perhaps
His part in the drama was done
Trusting that what will happen
Without his need to be there
I think we find leaving very hard to do. Some leavings should be hard to do – leaving a child on his or her first day at nursery. It should be hard. There should be tears and a sense of loss. Leaving has to happen. There’s no way a parent follows a child through the school system sitting next them simply because it’s too hard to leave. Leaving is necessary for both parent and child. Leaving allows the teacher to get on with their job.
Joseph couldn’t make the resurrection happen by sitting in the tomb and watching the body. He had done his part. What happened next he had no control over – so he left.
In leaving he wasn’t neglecting his job. There was nothing else for him to do.
It is an act of trust when we leave. We give God the time and the space for His next action without breathing down His neck. There will be a next action and it doesn’t depend on my being there to egg God on.
We put things into His hands…and then we leave. It’s all about trust.