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A journey through Lent - 2016

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Day Forty - The Grave.

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It is tempting to leap directly from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, from the cross to the resurrection.

In our passage today, Matthew brings us to the silence and stillness of the grave.

Matthew speaks in absolute certainty of the death, the silent grave and a situation that seemed hopeless.

As Joseph was able to retrieve Jesus' body the Romans would have been absolutely sure that the execution had been thorough.

The stone covering the entrance would have spoken deeply to the Jews. They would cover the vilest of criminals with rocks, to show that there would be no life beyond the grave for them.

The stone would mean that there was no expectation of life beyond this grave. The tomb is still, dark, silent.

Matthew's description of the grave reminds us that although the tomb was silent the silence would only last one more day.

Bible Passage: - Matthew 27:57-66 (NIV)

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.' So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."

"Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

Contemplation Saying.

"After three days I will rise again."

Contemplative Prayer.

Think of the saying in order to understand context and meaning,

Feel the meaning of the saying with and in your heart,

Pray, using the saying, for yourself or others. With only a name and without explaining the reasons or pre-defining any answers.

Listen for God's voice in the quiet of your prayers.

Pray using your own prayers or one of those which have been prepared below.

Let us pray together.

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Loving God, remind us that the darkness of the grave will soon be chased away by the brightness of the resurrection day.

In the quiet reflection of our hearts we remember that Jesus' death was real.

His burial, to remove him and his message from the world, complete.

No longer was he to be an influence in the world.

We think on the sorrow of his followers, who did not yet know the glorious news of the resurrection.

Lord we pray for all of those, today, who still do not know the reality of the events of Easter in their own lives.

Send us to speak of your sacrifice, death and resurrection for their sake.

In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.