Two thousand years down the pike, it is hard for me to wait until today to say, “He is risen; he is risen indeed!” Since the first Easter morning, disciples have had the benefit of knowing how things turned out. As others have put it, we are Easter people, so that every day we can say, “He is risen; he is risen indeed!”
Walking in Jerusalem this week with John (and yesterday with Matthew), we have had the opportunity to consider more deeply what it meant for the first disciples to move toward Sunday with no idea that there would be a resurrection. Our experience parallels Mary Magdalene's in today's lesson: As does she, we stand weeping outside the tombs of our lives. We mourn the loss of many things, including sometimes the loss of the presence of Christ in our lives. Our first response is to ask, “Where has he gone?” Like Mary, we even ask this of the risen Christ himself.
Walking in Jerusalem with John keeps things real. Spirituality is reality—always. Reality is where the ingredients of life are mixed so that something new can emerge, just as it did for Mary when she heard the risen Christ call her by name.
And maybe that is the message of Easter this year for many of us. It is to know that Jesus is risen, risen indeed, and that the risen Christ wants nothing more than to call us by name. Without diminishing Jesus’ resurrection itself, Mary's experience in the garden is the reminder that there is a resurrection awaiting us each day of our lives and when the days of our lives are over!
Dear God, because you live, I can live also. Thank you! Amen.
The readings for Holy Week focus our attention on the sacrifice made by the Messiah. The prophecies in Isaiah speak of it. Psalm 22 tells of confidence in God even in the midst of betrayal and suffering like that experienced by Jesus. In First Corinthians Paul describes crucifixion as the center of our teaching as Christians. We follow these events through the eyes of the Gospel writer John. Jesus foreshadows his death in multiple ways, but even his closest followers struggle to understand and accept its meaning. Why would the Son of God experience such alienation and suffering? It is all for us, the ultimate work of love. But then he conquers the grave! Praise be to God!
Read John 13:21-32. When have you noticed darkness planting seeds of betrayal in your heart? How did you follow Jesus’ light?
Read John 13:1-17, 31b-35. What status symbols do you hold on to that keep you from following Jesus’ example of humble service?
Read Isaiah 52:13–53:12. On Good Friday, God enters into human suffering. When have you felt God’s presence in your suffering?
Read John 20:1-18. How has Christ found you?
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