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This is the last of my reflections on “People of the Passion,” based on some of the minor characters who appear in the Passion narratives in all four gospels.

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.
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There are a number of minor characters who appear in the Passion narratives in all four gospels. They seldom get much attention. So this Lent I want to try to see these invisible people of the Passion and imagine events through their eyes.

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, ‘You must say, “His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.” If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’ So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day. (Matthew 28:11-15)

What could we say? The whole thing is still beyond believing. I could not begin to understand what took place in the depths of the darkest hours of that early Sunday morning.
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There are a number of minor characters who appear in the Passion narratives in all four gospels. They seldom get much attention. So this Lent I want to try to see these invisible people of the Passion and imagine events through their eyes.

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. (Mark 16:1-8)

I am the less famous Salome in the story.

The other Salome appeared near the beginning of the stories about Jesus.
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There are a number of minor characters who appear in the Passion narratives in all four gospels. They seldom get much attention. So this Lent I want to try to see these invisible people of the Passion and imagine events through their eyes.

Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. (Matthew 27:50-53)

I know it sounds wild and improbable. But I am not the only one who had the experience.
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There are a number of minor characters who appear in the Passion narratives in all four gospels. They seldom get much attention. So this Lent I want to try to see these invisible people of the Passion and imagine events through their eyes.

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, ‘Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, “After three days I will rise again.” Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, “He has been raised from the dead”, and the last deception would be worse than the first.’ Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.’ So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone. (Matthew 27:62-66)

We Pharisees have a bad reputation. People say we are legalists who know nothing about love. They criticize us for adhering to the laws and traditions of our people.
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It is difficult to know how to even begin trying to really connect with small children about Good Friday. How do you convey something of the reality of the cross to children under ten years old. Each year for the past few Good Fridays, I have written a story to try to communicate some sense of what Good Friday might mean with the children at church.

This year’s story was called “A Jewish Carpenter’s Son.” It is told in the voice of nine year old Jacob. It attempts to portray Good Friday. But I admit it slips over into Easter.
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There are a number of minor characters who appear in the Passion narratives in all four gospels. They seldom get much attention. So this Lent I want to try to see these invisible people of the Passion and imagine events through their eyes.

When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. (Mark 15:42,43)

Of course he was dead. Everyone knows you do not survive Roman crucifixion. We are efficient when it comes to killing. We leave nothing to chance.
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There are a number of minor characters who appear in the Passion narratives in all four gospels. They seldom get much attention. So this Lent I want to try to see these invisible people of the Passion and imagine events through their eyes.

There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem. (Mark 15:40,41)

I had been with him off and on for a year. As a childless widow, I was a woman always vulnerable. But around him I felt safe.
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There are a number of minor characters who appear in the Passion narratives in all four gospels. They seldom get much attention. So this Lent I want to try to see these invisible people of the Passion and imagine events through their eyes.

And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ 47When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘This man is calling for Elijah.’ At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. (Matthew 27:46-48)

I don’t know why I was there. I am not usually attracted to gruesome spectacles. There seemed to be some strange force, compelling me to go. It was as if my feet had a mind of their own.
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There are a number of minor characters who appear in the Passion narratives in all four gospels. They seldom get much attention. So this Lent I want to try to see these invisible people of the Passion and imagine events through their eyes.

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.’ This was to fulfill what the scripture says,
‘They divided my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.’
And that is what the soldiers did.
(John 19:23-25)

It is a rotten way to make a living crucifying people. I don’t know anyone who takes much pleasure in nailing the wrists of a helpless victim to a wooden crossbeam and their feet to a post before hoisting them to a vertical position where they hang until the life is crushed out of their bodies.
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