What Could They Possibly Do?

“A rich man from Arimathea . . . took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and placed it in his own new tomb.” – Matthew 27:1, 3

Joseph didn’t have to give Jesus his tomb, but he did. What moved him to such an extravagant gesture? I think he didn’t have to do it and so he did it. He was so upset that he needed to do something. He did what he could with what he had. He raveled what had been unraveled for so many.

Without any intent to trivialize Joseph, let me tell you about my rubber band balls.

I make these balls because I don’t have to. Most of what I do I have to do—in the same way that our family budget is usually determined long before we take a look at it each year. The student loans. The mortgage. The insurance. Discretionary is not a word that applies to my time or my budget.

But the rubber band balls are different. I don’t have to make them and therefore I do.

The balls are a parable or a ritual about networking. It takes the abandoned and turns them into community. It forms the random. The very action of adding a band relaxes me a lot more than the actual building of community. Real raveling is hard; discretionary raveling is easier.

Joseph and his community were destroyed by the murder of their leader. What could they possibly do? They could find a linen cloth. They could rebuild and re-ravel their network. They could give away their own tomb—on the grounds that they really wouldn’t be needing it any more anyway.


When things fall apart, O God, wind us around each other in pain and community. Amen.

ddauthordonnaschaper.jpgAbout the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her most recent book is I Heart Frances: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer.