XIV Jesus is laid in the tomb

Here at the centre everything is still
Before the stir and movement of our grief
Which bears its pain with rhythm, ritual,
Beautiful useless gestures of relief.
So they anoint the skin that cannot feel
Soothing his ruined flesh with tender care,
Kissing the wounds they know they cannot heal,
With incense scenting only empty air.
He blesses every love that weeps and grieves
And makes our grief the pangs of a new birth.
The love that’s poured in silence at old graves
Renewing flowers, tending the bare earth,
Is never lost. In him all love is found
And sown with him, a seed in the rich ground.

Malcolm Guite


Chant from the lamentation service of Great and Holy Saturday of the Orthodox Church.

“Every generation offers Thee its hymn of praise at Thy burial, O Christ.

Look upon me and have mercy on me, according to the judgment of those who love Your name.

The Arimathean took Thee down from the tree and laid Thee in a tomb.

Direct my steps according to Your teaching and let no lawlessness rule over me.

The myrrh-bearing women, with foresight brought sweet spices and drew near to Thee, O Christ.

Ransom me from the slander of men, and I will keep Your commandments.

Come, all creation, sing a hymn to honor the Creator’s Burial.

Make Your face shine upon Your servant and teach me Your ordinances.

Let us, with the myrrh-bearers, anoint as dead the Living One with the Myrrh of True Knowledge.

My eyes poured down streams of tears because they did not keep Your law.

O thrice blessed Joseph, bury now the body of Christ the Giver of Life.

Your testimonies are righteousness forever; give me understanding, and I shall live.

Joseph and Nicodemus bury the Creator with honors fitting for the dead.

I cry out to You; save me, and I shall keep Your testimonies.

The All-Pure Virgin wept with a mother’s grief, O Word, when she saw You lying dead.

I long for Your salvation, O Lord, and Your law is my meditation.

The hosts of angels tremble at the strange and fearful sight of Your burial, O Maker of All.

My soul shall live and praise You, and Your judgments shall keep me.

Early in the morning the myrrh-bearing women came to You and sprinkled myrrh on Your tomb.

I went astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I have not forgotten Your commandments.

By Your resurrection grant peace to Your Church and salvation to Your people.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. O God in Trinity, Father, Son, and Spirit, grant Your mercy to the world. Both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Grant us your servants to behold, O Virgin, the Resurrection of your Son.