From despair to hope

A reflection on Mark 16, 1-6

So - early in the morning, when it was barely light, they set off.

Those faithful women who had stood at the foot of the cross,

seen him breathe his last breath,

watched as he was laid hastily in the tomb.


Now with heavy hearts and heavy tread, they set off,

with their spices and clean linen sheets

to do that which women always do,


tending the dead, shrouding them decently with spices before burial.

There’d been no time to do it on the Friday, then it had been the Sabbath,

but now on the Sunday morning, they set off for their burdensome work.


Under different circumstances,

those same women would have tended the new-born,

wrapping them too in clean white linen,

using different spices for the delicate baby skin,

but swaddling the new-born just as they now prepared to shroud the dead.


These women were used to the endings and beginning of life,

were used to being there to watch life come and go,

used to being present at births and deaths.


So they set off, in the half-light, with their burdens,

this time expecting to attend a death, a life over,

not to witness a birth, the coming of new life.


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