Day Forty-Six of Lent
April 20, 2019
By MB Discipleship
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. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. – John 19:41-42
If you flip back to the early pages of your Bible, you’ll quickly find a passage of scripture that features a garden. In this garden, early humans exercised creative freedom without shame or concealment. In this garden, God would walk and talk with Creation.
When humans broke this relationship with God, the easy intimacy of walking and talking together dried up. There was now rift, separation, death. Things were not as they had been.
When Jesus died to open up a path to renewed relationship with God, it was within sight of a garden.
His body was taken down from the cross; something needed to be done with it quickly, before the Sabbath. It was put in a new tomb, in the garden: God had returned to a garden.
Yet it looked bleak: it appeared as though the rot that had sprung up originally in the First Garden had overtaken Jesus and snuffed him out. Holy Saturday – a time we often spend prepping ham, doing yard work, or running Easter egg hunts – is a time we can’t skip over silence, waiting, and tension. It stands between crucifixion and resurrection.
Death had entered the original garden when humans took their lives in their own hands; now, Jesus, dead, had been placed in a garden – and the next day, would return life and hope to a place emblematic of communion with God. Jesus, resurrected, would at first be mistaken – for a gardener.
Maybe, though, it wasn’t that much of a mistake. It wasn’t the first time humans had seen God walking in a garden. Can you imagine strolling through an arboretum with the Source of all life? Scripture, beginning to end, calls us to remember that this is how God likes things to be. A writer named G.K. Chesterton once commented that humans would likely find most surprising about God, God’s amusement and laughter.
When is the last time you laughed until you cried? Easy, open relationship frees us to laugh with others. When Christ made a way for us to enjoy God’s company again, he made a way for us to get to hear God’s amused chuckles again.
*Who do you find delight in being around? Are you able to believe that God loves you like this?