Our funeral for Jesus: Our God, our God, why have you forsaken us?
We held a funeral for Jesus tonight, as our Palm Sunday service. And it was a moving experience, especially when Rev. Jane invited us to partake of the bread and wine, one by one, up at the coffin, as a way to “pay our respects” to Jesus and to sup with him for the last time.
It was a service like none of us have ever been to before. It was new to all of us, including Rev. Jane. But it was our effort to get in touch with just how much our relationship with Jesus means to us — by getting in touch with what it would be like to lose him, to mourn his death… to try to imagine life without him.
We borrowed a coffin from a local mortuary. We began the service by processing around the building, carrying the coffin and singing “When the Saints Come Marching In” (in New Orleans style). We sang hymns, read and reflected on Psalm 22. Rev. Jane gave the eulogy, and we prayed for ourselves and for all people mourning Jesus’ death. Some of us spoke of our fondest memories of Jesus, what he’s done for us, and how hard it will be to live life without him. We ended by commending Jesus’ spirit unto God.
During this service, we were in a suspended time, as it were. We were pre-resurrection friends and disciples of Jesus. We comforted ourselves that Jesus our Master himself had had faith that God would in the end come to Jesus’ and our rescue. We realized that we don’t know what that help might look like. So while we grieved, we also held on to a hope that God would do something to make it all come out right. Jesus had this hope, so we will try to, too.
Our days will be sterile and dark now, without Jesus. But we have faith that we are living as if inside Psalm 22, waiting between verses 21 and 22… waiting for God to act.