During his Easter sermon yesterday, Pastor Jeff brought out an interesting little tidbit about the Easter story that I hadn't considered before. Jesus' body was buried by Joseph of Arimithea and Nicodemus. They went specifically to Pilate to ask for his body -- otherwise, it would have been thrown in the mass grave with all the other executed criminals.
Here's the thing: if they hadn't done that, there wouldn't have been a specific place where his body was laid to go to to look for him when his believers started talking about his being alive. There would have been no graveclothes left behind for the disciples to find. The whole resurrection scenario would have been more fuzzy, less certain.
Joseph and Nicodemus didn't believe Jesus was going to come alive again. None of Jesus' followers believed that. They didn't go through the work and hassle and potential harrassment from the other Pharisees because they thought they were setting up a situation for his dramatic re-entrance into the world. They just thought a good man deserved a decent burial. They just wanted to do the right thing.
The small decencies of life. They are more important than we realize. God can do more through them than we imagine. A story went around the internet a while back about someone seeing a loner schoolmate walking home overloaded with books and offering to help carry them . . . and finding out years later that the boy was planning to go home and commit suicide, but that small act of kindness changed his mind.
"Be faithful in small things, because it is in them that your strength lies," Mother Teresa said. Lord, open my eyes and prod my lazy body to observe the small decencies of life.