I opened the official looking envelope from the county and stared at the title deed to the plot of ground where my mom is buried- I am heir to a grave.
The weight of this inheritance sat with me through the days as I pondered the necessity to prove ownership of my mom’s bones. Would there ever be a time when someone would dispute my right to mourn my dead on the land purchased and titled? There across the news the battles in the the Holy Land of who owns what places to put whose bones in blare across the screen. Riots over ancient sepulchers seemed a bit close to home in my meditations this Holy week.
Abraham’s petition to the sons of Heth:
Gen 23:4 “I am a sojourner and foreigner among you; give me property among you for a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”
Joseph’s Godfather like command: “Carry my bones”
Gen 50:25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.”
Even Jesus’s life evolved around the tomb. The healing of the demoniac that lived among the tombs, the miracle of Lazarus, the care of Christ’s own bones.
Mat 27:57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus.
Mat 27:58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.
Mat 27:59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud
Mat 27:60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away.
Joseph had title to his own tomb, and laid another man in it. A man who would not stay dead. Who would not leave his bones in a borrowed tomb.
1Co 15:36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
1Co 15:37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.
1Co 15:38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.
I know my Mother and Father will experience a resurrected body. I am strangely comforted by the fact that they will rise together and experience transformation together. In life they strove to grow as a couple, to be intentional in “doing” life together. What greater satisfaction can there be than to have the one your soul is knit to, and cleaved to experience the most dramatic physical transformation with you that there will be? I have pondered how they cared for the dieing kernel of each other’s earthly bodies often with despair and frustration. I think of the days that we sang them and sowed them back into the Earth they came from. I look towards THE DAY when the ONE who is the first born from the dead will give their mortal bodies a new life, a new form, and the rejoicing there will be when what was once sickly, and weak, knows resurrected life.
So, I close the envelope and place it with the other important papers that define life and I know that death is not the end for those who believe. It is only a seed. falling into the ground, shedding it’s kernel, only to be called again into the eternal life giving purpose for which it was created.
1Jn 3:2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
I thank God, that Jesus had bones.