You would give anything to hear his voice again: the way his words resonated in your chest, your heart; the timbre of his laughter; how he would, in the most ordinary moments, suddenly break into song.
So when, in your weeping, you hear him speaking your name, you are stunned, then elated. You want to reach out, to gather into your arms the one you had thought forever gone.
What you do not know is that resurrection is not quite the same as return. You will learn, and soon, that it comes with a cost, that new life really means this: means new, means it will not be the same as before, means you cannot hold on to him, means you will have to let go of everything in order to love him as he is now. As you are now, yourself altered beyond imagining.
You will learn that the cost of resurrection is also the gift: that letting go will propel you into a life you could hardly have dreamed. Into the empty, aching space of your outstretched arms, a whole new world will enter. And this awful hollowing inside your chest: this is your heart becoming larger. This is the space you will need in order to hold him now.
At the beginning of this week, a woman named Mary drew close to Jesus. As this week ends, another Mary is sent away from him. Now love asks for letting go.
Mary Magdalene’s leaving, like Mary of Bethany’s anointing, is a gesture of astounding love. This love releases the life we expected and instead chooses the life meant for us. This is love that, even as we let it send us, will draw us closer to the risen Christ.
In the rising, in the rejoicing, in the releasing, may we fall deep into the love that will not leave us alone.
This week’s readings take us through the depths but then into the eternal light. We walk each step with Jesus, who suffers betrayal, abandonment, and death in our place. But it is more than that. He also enters into the brokenness of our human condition and feels our pain, such that on the cross he even feels abandonment by God. He walks through the valley of the shadow of death because of God’s amazing, reckless love for us. This is the power of Holy Week. But that is not the end of the story. Jesus’ steps do not end at the cross, for he walks out of the tomb! Now we can follow in his steps and participate in his new life. He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
• Read Psalm 70. What help do you need from God? from others?
• Read Isaiah 42:1-9. Where do you see signs of God’s work in the arena of justice? Where does Creation provide signs of restoration?
• Read John 12:20-36. As you ponder the reign of God in your midst, what images call to your mind God’s presence?
• Read John 20:1-18. When have you, in love, released the life expected in order to take up the life God intends for you?
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