Emptiness and Sorrow

The anger, despair and overwhelming sorrow of grief is a unversal human experience. I think it's beautifully portrayed in this detail of a mourning woman. It's from the painting 'Deposition' by the 15th century Flemish painter Rogier van der Weyden. The original oil on panel is in the Museo del Prado, Madrid.

I chose to post this today in an attempt to imaginatively enter the experience of a few women who saw Jesus die, then taken down from the cross and laid in a tomb.

Yesterday during the silence in a Good Friday service I found myself thinking about Jesus' mother at her son's crucifixion. It was almost unbearable for me, even just thinking about Mary's experience. What did she feel like the next day I wonder? How did she with Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and the other women get through that long sabbath?

Tomorrow, Easter Sunday, I expect to preach from Luke's account of the women with their spices going early to Jesus' tomb, finding no body there and hearing the message "why do you look for the living among the dead?..."  (Luke 24: 5). I don't think I can preach resurrection authentically without first experiencing something of the emptiness felt by those women on that 2nd day.

The poet Elizabeth Rooney writes of that emptiness and sorrow in this poem:

A curiously empty day, 
As if the world's life 
Had gone underground. 
The April sun 
Warming dry grass 
Makes pale spring promises 
But nothing comes to pass. 
Relaxes into despair 
As we remember our helplessness, 
Remember him hanging there. 
We have purchased the spices 
But they must wait for tomorrow. 
We shall keep today 
For emptiness and sorrow.


  1. this post really touched me, thanks

  2. Emma, this post was intended to touch people's hearts, as it did mine. Thank you for commenting. Hope it was helpful.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Mary Sumner, Founder of the Mothers' Union

Maximilian Kolbe (1894 - 1941)

What is a holiday?

Clare of Assisi, Founder of the Minoresses (Poor Clares)

The Transfiguration of our Lord