Who was essential at the cross?
Not Peter or John, Matthew or Mark.
Simon was essential: when Jesus could no longer carry the cross, Simon, a common laborer, with the strength to do the manual labor, the construction, the carrying of an essential item to where it needed to be. Simon was essential.
So were the two criminals who hung by the cross. Worthless and killed for being heretics, these two were essential for having the existential and theological conversation about who was saved and who wasn’t, and when was it too late to be saved.
The Centurion, and the common prison guards, were essential, they were the first to realize Jesus was the Son of God after he died. These workers in prison were essential.
Joseph of Arimathea, was essential. He gave up his own burial place, and risked his own death by the officials, boldly asking Pilate for the body, revealing what he believed and why. Then Joseph and Nicodemus polluted themselves–wrapping the dead body with their own hands, and using Nicodemus own mixed spices to move Jesus to the tomb. These men who put down politics to work with the dead were essential.
The women were essential. The women were sent, because they were thought to be harmless. Women prepared Jesus for the tomb with the wrappings and the spices to hide the bad smell. They entered the grave, where the guards watched–socially distant–to make certain no mischief was done. Women were the worthless but essential workers of the day.
Who was essential at the cross? Who did the work that needed to done? Who carried, cleaned, buried, wept, wrapped and worshipped?
Help us to pray and remember and rejoice in all of the essential workers we pray. Amen.