For Mary Magdalene, the Resurrection was an event, an encounter that transcended any other. Coming to the tomb, through the dark pre-dawn streets of Jerusalem, an exhausted and grief-stricken woman discovered that the great grey stone had been moved away from the entrance. She fled and ran to tell the disciples that Jesus’ body had been removed. They hurried to the place and found that it was so and then they returned to their homes.
But Mary stayed, inconsolable, in despair, weeping in the garden. The presence of luminous white-robed angels seemed to have little impact on her! And initially, when she saw Jesus, she thought he was the gardener. Why? Not just because of the violet shadows of early morning or her tear-filled eyes; she expected only a corpse not a living Lord. “Mary” He called, His voice warm, and tender and strong. She knew Him, recognized Him. “Rabbouni”. And Mary went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”. John 20:1-18 For Mary, Christ’s Resurrection was a personal encounter, an experience of relationship unlike any other.
What does Christ’s Resurrection look like to you, what does it mean for you and what difference does it make?
Is it simply another familiar element of Christian tradition, worth celebrating but practically on a par with baby bunnies, blooming tulips and candy Easter eggs, as a rite of Spring? Is it something so mysterious, so unique, that you don’t wish to explore it too deeply in case it loses some of its power or even more disturbingly, affects you profoundly? Keeping the Risen Christ at arm’s length ensures that we needn’t get too involved, too personal, too intimate with God, even though that is what God desires most. Or is it perhaps even so questionable that it is beyond your desire for comprehension, as you really want ‘proof’? Perhaps the disciples did steal away their friend’s body and somehow kept it secret, or arguably, there may be a scientific explanation for it all. Is it too discomforting to investigate, because it might shake long-held beliefs, or simply shake you up?
Or is it, or could it be, if you let it… the glorious moment, the encounter and the knowing, that illuminates your way and gives you strength and hope and joy in living the life of Faith?
There is no question something extraordinary occurred that first Easter morning, otherwise Jesus would soon have become simply a footnote in history books. But the mystery is magnified, and brought into contemporary focus, with the confession that something extraordinary happens still! It happens when we, as an Easter people, allow this mystery to transform us, to open our eyes to the presence of God; when we open our ears to hear God call us by name, when we open our hands, and offer ourselves in ministry in Christ’s service. The tomb is empty but the life of faith is full. Live it every day, with Jesus’ name on your lips and Alleluias in your heart!
A Note to Readers: I pray that “Choose Life” has provided ‘food for thought’ during this Lenten season! 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 the spiritual disciplines: self-examination, penitence, prayer, the study of scripture and other resources, worship, 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. Easter Blessings, Susan+