"I am the vine; you are the branches." — John 15:5

Sunday, April 12, 2020 “Heart and Soul”

Easter

John 20:1-18

The break of dawn. A time well known by dairy farmers, nursing mothers, those on their knees in Night Vigil and shift workers, among others.  The day ahead still full of potential and promise. 

And we witness Mary Magdalene, “early on the first day of the week”, moving silently along deserted streets, on her way to anoint the crucified body of her Lord.

God could have conveyed Resurrection with special effects to outdo any Hollywood extravaganza. Why was it not expressed as pure energy, or warmth or light? 

God’s Resurrection was, firstly, an intentionally incarnational encounter, the God ‘in carne’, Word made flesh.  Why? Because, generally speaking, we human beings relate more easily to the sensual, to sight, sound, taste, smell and touch than to mysterious phenomena outside of our comfort zone.   So Mary meeting Jesus in the Garden was, if you think about it, a manageable experience. “Rabbouni”! Does it not feel that we are almost intruding on the privacy of the moment?  For Mary, Christ’s Resurrection was an intensely personal meeting, an experience of relationship that transcended any other. And Mary went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”.  “Alleluia!” Praise God!

 The risen Christ was real. He was not resuscitated, he was resurrected, and, yes, he was changed. In fact everything was changed so that Mary saw the Lord not just with her physical eyes, heard his voice not just with her ears but with the prismatic vision and discernment of faith. And her joy was complete.

If, for you, Easter is simply another familiar element of Christian tradition, worth celebrating but marked primarily with baby bunnies, riotous spring blooms and candy eggs, as a rite of Spring, then you cannot know of Mary’s joy.

Or is the Easter proclamation something so profound that you don’t wish to explore it too deeply in case it loses some of its power? If keeping the Risen Christ at arm’s length ensures that you needn’t get too religious or too involved or intimate with God, even though that is what God desires most, then you cannot know of Mary’s joy.

Is the Resurrection too questionable for you, in other words, you doubt that it really happened? If it is too discomforting to investigate because it might shake long-held disbelief, or simply shake you up, then you cannot know of Mary’s joy.

If you have never loved deeply, you have not tasted the sweetness of the Easter moment. Whatever the warmth of human relationships you have embraced or whether in your personal history you felt loved as a child or consider yourself lovable or unlovable now, the fact is that you are deeply loved by the one who went to the Cross for you. Could the Resurrection be, if you let it… the glorious defining moment, the encounter and the knowing, that illuminates your way and gives you strength and hope and joy in living the life of Faith?

That, is our prayer for you, today and always.  Christ is Risen, Alleluia! The Lord is Risen Indeed!

A Note to Readers:  I pray that “Heart and Soul” has provided inspiration and comfort during this very strange Lenten season as we have faced COVID 19.   If you feel that the habit of reading a daily Devotional has offered nutritious sustenance on your journey, there are many options online as well as print booklets to continue to guide you on the Way. I encourage you to persevere in your spiritual disciplines of worship, prayer, study, fasting and giving generously of yourself and your abundance, both for your own health and wholeness and for the building up of the Body of Christ the Church.

Stay home. Stay safe. Stay faithful. Stay strong.

 Easter Blessings, Susan+