On that first weekend this was the day reality set in. For those who loved Jesus this is agonising bereavement. The twisted up wrapped up body of Jesus broken and finished is closed off in a tomb. Dreams are shattered. Guilt is rampant. Love is gone. The disciples are devastated. They would never see Jesus again. They were bereaved in the worst ways - by knowing their Master and Friend brutally murdered had been let down by them when he needed them the most. This is bitter bitter, bereavement.
Yesterday I heard that one of my friends from student days died of Covid 19 on Monday evening at 11:45 pm. His wife, also suffering from the virus, said her goodbyes on the phone. Though sedated she is sure that he heard her and a chaplain read Scripture and prayed as he was dying. Maurice Markham began in Cambridge the same year as me - he was at St. Catherine's reading Classics. His Christian witness shone - I met him in the Baptist student society and our friendship grew. He played the organ brilliantly for our wedding. Entering Baptist ministry, after training at Spurgeon's College to train for Baptist ministry he served for the rest of his ministry at the same church - Meredith Road, Coventry. Face to face meetings with him and Helen were rare over the busy years but we kept in touch at Christmas. Our last meeting a couple of years ago rolled back the years.
His death came as a shock. Suddenly in garden sunshine where I had been sitting I was filled with grief at what Helen and so many close family and friends would be facing. It brought home something of the daily statistics. Sudden awful death.
For those first disciples this bitter bereavement makes what is about to happen the next day all the more amazing. That they will see Jesus again. Dreams restored. Guilt met with forgiveness. Love victorious over Death. Life is changed for them forever. And for us. Helen says in her bereavement: 'Maurice is more alive than ever! Oh, to be able to make such a claim. Yes. Jesus has gone through the worst so that even in the worst we have to face He is on the other side. We need tomorrow.