Nothing, Everything

Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock.” – Matthew 27:59-60

“Take nothing with you,” Jesus once told his disciples. No stuff. No encumbrances. No defenses. Nothing unnecessary. Light as a feather, free as a bird. God is enough, God will provide.

Maybe. Maybe not. God’s not paying the mortgage, after all. We’re not angels. We live in the real world. A second car makes schlepping the kids a lot easier. Is that bad? And what’s wrong with a daily mocha latte? It’s a small pleasure. Life is hard.

Meanwhile on this Holy Saturday, the dead Jesus lies in a grave not his own, an unsurprising detail in a life of nothing coveted or owned. Nothing, that is, except the body he was born with and the breath he borrowed. Yesterday he relinquished them, too. Today he is a nothing.

And today we wait to see if he was right to live so dispossessed, whether loss is really gain. Or whether he was tragically unwise, and we’re smart, not disobedient, to rationalize his radicality away.

In the morning we will see whether those who took him at his word that nothing is everything will receive the joy he promised. Or whether the poor in spirit would’ve been better off striving to be somebody, and the voluntarily poor in things should’ve blown the budget on those jet skis after all.

I want to live with nothing but the everything of you, good Jesus. But I’ve never been able to figure out how to make it work in practice. Give me courage and grace to keep asking.

About the Author
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.