o jesus, i’ve come to pay my last respects.
thank you.

but the only spice i have to offer is the salt in my tears.
that is enough.

The next evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene and Salome and Mary the
mother of James went out and purchased burial spices to put on Jesus’ body. Very early
on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they came to the tomb.
—Mark, recounting when the women went looking for Jesus’s body
(Mark 16:1-2)

The women are on their way to the tomb to pay their last respects, to finish burying their friend. Dawn is about to break loose across the land, and in this moment before daylight the women have come.

Yesterday was the day of rest, and they observed it, dutifully, obediently, somberly. Now they carry spices to place on his body as their final act of kindness. These are the women who provided for him during his life; now they want to do the same for him in his death. Because they love him.

The disciples are still hiding, but these women aren’t. They want to honor their Rabboni, and in their culture this is how you care for the dead, with burial spices.

Their steps are heavy, though. Their faces drawn. Their eyes bloodshot, tired, and dry. They’ve almost run out of tears—almost but not quite. Yesterday, the day of rest, was their day of tears. “Today,” they tell themselves, “today is the day to finish the job of burying the Lord. Tomorrow there’ll be time for tears again.”

The Magi, the wise men, had brought Jesus myrrh at his birth. Now these distraught women bring him myrrh again just days after his death.

how do you care for a dead Jesus?
how do you bury the almighty’s corpse?
what spices will ever be enough
to honor a fallen deity and to quiet
the decay of eternity in his heart?

how do you care for the dead
when the fallen one is the author of life?

no incantation seems strong enough

Here come the women, emerging from the forest, wondering how to move the stone and open the tomb. They saw where he was buried. They know the place. They saw the size of the stone used to seal the entrance and wonder how they’ll ever be able to roll it out of the way. But still, they’ve come. This is their friend, this is their duty. They’ll find a way.

Dawn is about to break. Sunlight is chasing them, hurrying toward the horizon as they pad silently across the dewy ground. Daylight is about to crack through the shell of the sky.

Finally, in the moment before sunrise, they arrive at the tomb. The shadows behind them are long. Light blazes into their eyes. The sun pokes over the horizon. It is finally dawn.

And they stare at the tomb.

Already the stone has been rolled away.

Easter is here.

touching the unseen

a moment ago sorrow swallowed
all of my joy,
all of life was a broken melody.

but now . . .
what is this new tune that i hear?
who has rolled the stone away?
i shudder as yet another mystery
engulfs me
and the new-day sun laughs above me
in the clear, expectant sky.