Welcome to the Holy Women, Holy Men blog! We invite you to read about this commemoration, use the collect and lessons in prayer, whether individually or in corporate worship, then tell us what you think. For more information about this project, click here.
About this commemoration
All that is certainly known of Joseph of Arimathaea comes from the narratives of the burial of Jesus in the Gospels. Though John speaks of Joseph as a secret disciple of our Lord, and associates him with Nicodemus, another member of the Jewish Sanhedrin who was drawn to Jesus, we know nothing of any further activity of these men in
the early Christian community. Later, however, legends developed about their leadership in the Church. One of the more attractive is the story of Joseph’s coming to the ancient Church of Glastonbury in Britain and bringing with him the Holy Grail (the cup used at the Last Supper). This tradition cannot be dated earlier than the thirteenth century. Although this and other stories obtained wide credence, they are not based on historical facts.
Joseph’s claim for remembrance does not depend upon such legends, however beautiful and romantic. When our Lord’s intimate disciples were hiding for fear of the authorities, Joseph came forward boldly and courageously to do, not only what was demanded by Jewish piety, but to act generously and humanely by providing his own tomb for the decent and proper burial of our Lord’s body, thus saving it from further desecration.
Collect of the Day
Merciful God, whose servant Joseph of Arimathaea with reverence and godly fear prepared the body of our Lord and Savior for burial, and laid it in his own tomb: Grant to us, your faithful people, grace and courage to love and serve Jesus with sincere devotion all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Preface of the Commemoration of the Dead
We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?
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From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.