The snares of death encompassed her; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on her; she suffered distress and anguish. Then she called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!” And He did. She died like countless saints before her, yet each one was known to Him by name. He re-enacted His passion play in her honor. He gave us all a role. She would play the star. She would be like Jesus.
She bowed her head. She breathed her last. We mourned and lamented. Through bitter tears, we saw that her body was prepared for burial. Then, days later, we gathered together to see the body one last time this side of glory. But it wasn’t there. There was only a white cloth. We played Peter, who rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. We gathered to see a body, but all we saw on the day of her funeral was what God left behind. White cloth.
We called this white cloth a “pall”, but really, it was His robe of resurrection, washed white in His precious blood. Jesus left it behind for her to wear a long time ago. She first put it on in her baptism, where she was united to Him by bonds even her death couldn’t break. It was in those waters that she first tasted death and was sealed to life. There, she was crucified with Him. There, she was raised. She wore those white robes every day after, and she will forevermore. Those white robes cover up death forever.
Today, we finally get to see her wear them. The funeral pall lies over her coffin, and we can’t see death anymore. Instead, we see those robes that Jesus left behind for her when He rose from death. They’re draped over her now, and they give us a glimpse of heaven, where she now sings with angels and archangels and all the saints gone before her. The pall gives us a glimmer of what she now sees. The place where she will hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike her, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne is her shepherd, and even as He clothed her so long ago in those white robes, He now guides her to springs of living water and wipes every tear from her eye. She waits to follow Him to a resurrection of her own on the last day, where she too will be given a new and perfect body.
I got to play the divine messenger. “She is not here. She is risen. See the place where they laid her. See the pall, the life that covers death. You will see her again.” This was her passion play. She was united with Him in a death like His. She will certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. Her Easter morning, where we gathered at her funeral looking for her body and found only white cloth, bears the hope of the glories of the life to come, won by Him who died and rose for her, who clothed her in white robes in baptism, and who now shelters her in His presence.
We don’t see death. All we see are the burial cloths Jesus left for us. We look at that pall and we see baptism, salvation, and life. Easter means something to us as Christians. Jesus rose from the dead. He conquered death. We are baptized. On the last day, we will rise too. Until then, for the saddest of days, so you’ll never forget, He left you His burial cloth.