Saturday, October 14, 2017

Rich Man Joe

Can I share a poem with you?

One of my favorite things (cue Julie Andrews) is meditating on the secondary characters.  Even in Scripture this is true -- maybe especially in Scripture.  The Spirit reveals so much when you notice those who don't get much press, thinking through their thoughts, stepping into their sandals for a moment. 

I had never thought too much about Joseph of Arimathea until this past spring during my Lent readings.  Matthew calls him a rich dude, respected, important in his circle of prestige.  All four gospel writers purposefully mention him, his status and his contribution to The Story. 

But what exactly was in this Joseph's heart and mind as his hands held our broken Lord's body, still warm, so wounded?  Oh, that pricked my heart.  What did he risk to do so?  There's just so much there.  And digging into it all left me weeping.  And even more curious.  And maybe even jealous.

Forgive my lazy attempt at a sonnet here, but this is what came of it all . . . and the mixed media that goes with it is pictured below.

Rich Man Joe

You came ‘round when Life had breathed this earth’s last.
Surely fear before had held you in sway.
‘Twould be unbecoming of such high caste,
Grov’ling for some carcass ‘long the midway.

But the day grew long and how your heart burned.
Careful courage cast that caste to folly.
Longing, love of Lord brought on a hard turn,
Desp’rate, you embraced and honored wholly.

Handled you His hands, the scars still weeping.
Wiped then from His face the trails of man’s blood.
Taking in the death, you watched Him sleeping,
In the quiet, in the tomb, a heart’s flood.

Last to touch Him, last to see Him broken,
Did you know Him new when Dawn was spoken?

Rich Man Joe -- mixed media 2017 Jennifer Hildebrand

Because in the end, after those closest to Him had run for cover, Joseph came forward.  Getting into the details is almost too much:  physically carrying, washing and wrapping His body; taking on the ceremonial uncleanliness that would come with doing such; the silence of the coming night ringing off the walls of the tomb.  Did he feel hopeless or hopeful; confused, tired, scared?  Did He get to see the risen Jesus and know his Savior new?

Like I said, there's just so much there.

And it reminds me again that, in God's beautiful authorship of this life -- His Story, even the secondary characters speak volumes of His glory.