Several of the women who had followed Jesus and provided for his and the disciples' needs as they traveled from place to place came to the tomb early in the morning on the first day of the week--Sunday in our calendar--to prepare his body for proper burial. They had been unable to do so on Good Friday because the Sabbath began at sunset, too soon after the crucifixion to allow for the ritual anointing with spices customary in burying a body. These women became known in the liturgical tradition of the Christian East as "the myrrh bearers," though the list did sometimes include Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. We read their story in their story in the gospels of Easter week in the Roman Catholic lectionary.
Across the sun, the sullen clouds
Rolled gray and heavy as the stone
That sealed the tomb where lay the One
We thought that death could never own.
Upon our hearts, the weight of tears
Sat gray and heavy as the clouds
That poured the grief of heaven down
Like rain upon the silent crowds.
Upon our way, the loss we bore
Sat gray and heavy as the tears
We could not shed amid the storms
That washed away the hope of years.
Upon the Sabbath rest our prayer
Sat gray and heavy as the loss
We carried with us as we left
The desolation of the cross.
Today at dawn we take our myrrh,
As gray and heavy as our prayer,
To mark with our farewell the flesh
Of him we left untended there.
But look! The gray and heavy sky
Breaks into light where there was none.
The song of larks rolls back the clouds
In homage to the rising Sun!
Hymn Text: LM; Genevieve Glen, OSB; ©2004, Abbey of St. Walburga, Virginia Dale CO 80536-8942