Crucifixion & Burial


I arise today…
… through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial …

The Lorica of Saint Patrick (St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer)

“I arise today through the strength..”

As we stretch our arms and set our feet on the floor, we take a deep breath and inhale the strength of Almighty God for the day ahead.

But this strength seems to come from strange places. Last week it came from the birth and baptism of Christ… both passive acts that we do not generally associate with strength. (You can read more about that thought in last week’s post)

This week our strength comes from crucifixion and burial.

With every fiber of our being we want to keep going with the liturgy. Like a melody that ends on a suspended chord, we desperately want to jump to the resolution. After all, we know the great mystery of faith.

Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again!

Yet the disciples did not arise on Saturday morning in the strength of resurrection. They arose to the reality of death, and I imagine like us, strength was not the first thing they felt in the face of this overwhelming reality.

Perhaps we should pause this week and ask what strength we might find in the crucifixion and burial of Christ. We don’t consider this as though the resurrection never happened, for as the apostle Paul writes,

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

1 Corinthians 15:17 (NRSV)

Rather, we pause to experience the full weight and power of death, of pain, of sorrow, of grief, of fear… just as the disciples felt on Saturday morning.

The power and apparent finality of death can paralyze even the strongest and most joyful person. We typically avoid thinking about our own mortality at all cost. We don’t want to wake up to the idea that this day could be our last.

We face death every day of our lives. People we know and love are dying. We are dying. As a doctor once told a cancer patient, “We are all born with a terminal illness. It’s called life.”

And more than that, we are called to take up our cross, to be crucified with Christ, and to be buried with him through baptism into death. Every sacrifice we must make for the sake of others or for the sake of the gospel requires a little death inside of us.

  • There is great strength in willingly taking up our cross.

  • There is great strength required to gasp out prayers of forgiveness for the very people who have nailed us to the tree as Jesus did.

  • There is great strength in the knowledge that we can “rest in peace” even before we take our last breath.

Only when death loses its sting and the fear of death holds no power over us are we truly free to live.

Only when death loses its sting and the fear of death holds no power over us are we truly free to live.


  1. What strength might you find in waking up to meditate upon the crucifixion of Christ?

  2. What strength might you find in reflecting upon the burial of this mortal shell?

  3. How does the thought of death affect your life of faith?

Our journey through St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer continues next week:

… I arise today,
through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension …

Pray along with the full text of St. Patrick's Breastplate Prayer