When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. (Matthew 27.57-61)
It has been a long day, the longest the world has known. Now they have placed the body of Jesus, the lifeless body of Jesus, in the tomb that has been given to them by a stranger, Joseph of Arimathea. But what choice do the disciples have? They have no choice; either this stranger’s tomb or the body is taken away and thrown in a common grave, in a pit. So they accept the gift and carefully and lovingly, they carry the body of their friend, their Master, their Teacher, their Lord from the barren hillside into a garden where the tomb has been created. And in the gathering gloom they lay the shrouded body there, roll the stone in place and, embracing the women, who are watching, leave.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God,
who at this evening hour lay in the tomb
and so hallowed the grave
to be a bed of hope for all who put their trust in you:
give us such sorrow for our sins,
which were the cause of your passion,
that when our bodies lie in the dust,
our souls may live with you for ever.