I discover it difficult to give you one thing attention-grabbing to say in a column printed throughout Holy Week. In truth, to organize for this column, I Googled “Holy Week” to see if something registered anew.
Some random questions got here to thoughts. How do we all know which days of the week these occasions fell on? (Returning to the textual content, the Gospel of Mark supplied essentially the most readability on chronology.) What was everybody doing on Saturday? (One website mentioned Saturday was the day Jesus was buried, however Mark says that was nonetheless Preparation Day, not the Sabbath.) Why do now we have Easter parades on such a somber day? Since Saturday was the Sabbath, I’d assume all was quiet. Most individuals would have noticed the day by resting, and the disciples would have rested and grieved.
But a extra essential level did register: the burial of Jesus. The precise day it occurred apart, the individuals in Jesus’s burial are undisputed. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus embalmed Jesus’ physique, wrapped it, and positioned it in a tomb Joseph had bought. The occasion spans solely 4 or 5 verses in every Gospel and is definitely neglected, mendacity between Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. But the trivia in every Gospel put collectively for me the image of a deeply subversive and dangerous act.
Joseph was a wealthy man and a outstanding member of the Sanhedrin council. He was additionally a secret follower of Christ. When his courtroom determined to crucify Jesus, he didn’t consent. The Gospels do not say whether or not he abstained from voting, wrote a dissenting opinion, or just voiced his disagreement, however no matter he did, he is the one one famous to have completed it. Nicodemus additionally was a council member, and although he visited Jesus at evening to inquire about salvation and believed Jesus’ message, he confirmed up after Jesus’ trial, beating, and crucifixion.
I do not assume Nicodemus’s inaction makes him a nasty particular person, however I love Joseph a bit extra on this state of affairs. Each man would have had to surrender place, energy and cash to observe Jesus brazenly. Each additionally may need uncovered his household to hazard, particularly in these violent days round Passover. But when there was a possibility to make use of his place to forestall an injustice, Joseph took it.
Joseph reminds me of students across the nation and a few world wide who marched for his or her lives on Saturday. Protest actions typically are led by students as a result of they’re daring, energized, have a transparent and unjaded image of proper and fallacious, and since they’ve little or no to lose. Most have not acquired the cash, energy, place, partner, or kids they may lose in the event that they selected to talk up in a nationwide motion. Yet, some of the students do have the privilege of whiteness and of their dad and mom’ wealth. Some of them have acknowledged that their affluence and bodily presentation have made their friends’ murders extra worthy of nationwide mourning and their ways of walkouts, rallies, direct debate with lobbying organizations, marches, and journeys to state and nationwide capitols extra praiseworthy than the identical actions by Black Lives Matter activists.
By “shar[ing] this stage … with those communities who have always stared down the barrel of a gun,” as Parkland capturing survivor Jaclyn Corin mentioned Saturday, they threat shedding what assist they do have. Make no mistake: the nation continues to be deeply divided alongside strains of who’s believed to face hardship and discrimination, and these strains typically cross over with gun possession and political get together affiliation. Saving kids’s lives is one thing you’d assume the nation could be united on, however it is not. Students like Corin, David Hogg, and Emma Gonzalez threat being referred to as race-baiters and different labels pushed onto individuals who imply to fire up justice, not division. And these assaults might be private and ruthless. And but these kids converse for themselves and for these have not been given the identical likelihood to have a voice.
This Holy Week, I am considering of them, of Joseph of Arimathea, of Nicodemus, of the paralyzing ideas, “But what will people think?” and “What will happen if I speak?” and of those that do it anyway.
[Mariam Williams is a Kentucky writer living in Philadelphia. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing and certificate in public history from Rutgers University-Camden. She is a contributor to the anthology Faithfully Feminist and blogs at MariamWilliams.com. Follow her on Twitter: @missmariamw.]
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