Strange gifts

For the feast of Joseph of Arimathea:

The gift of a place to rest in peace. A quiet tomb. A hillside full of life and new growth. A garden; paradise on earth.

The tenderness of a cradling arm, swaddling clothes.
Joseph borrowed sufficient grace to welcome you belatedly into his family’s final home.

I cannot help but think of those garbage bags hidden in the long grass and the abandoned basement rooms, those blessed daughters of God deprived of tenderness and loving care in their final moments.

Then I think of those whose work it is to caress the dead, brush their hair, soap their skin, dress them like a child, with compassion and whispered godspeed.

Joseph understood that it was not too late to show you a little love, to touch you with his heart; we pray for those whose earthly resting place is unquiet, confident that they will find the comfort that they need in God’s loving arms.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing (Upper Room Books, 2020). She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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