Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter: Rejoicing in Emptyness

Survivors experience death over and over: their birthdays; their death anniversaries; your shared wedding anniversaries; sudden smells and memories; lonely nights... We feel an emptiness - a void where once they were. A wound that heals but leaves its scars.


Grave-robbers?

At dawn she saw the desecrated grave. It was like he died all over again; but this time she did not even have the comfort of a last ministry to his body. She ran as fast as the hot desert wind to find the others where they mourned in hiding.

"Grave-robbers! I don't know where they have taken him!"

Shocked, two of the Master's students ran before her, back to the violated cemetery. The younger faster one arrived first, but froze before the gaping maw. He looked inside the tomb, and saw the death-soiled rags lying empty, left-behind. The second man too saw the linens as he entered the vault; but he saw something else too - someone had taken the care and time to neatly roll up and place the head-covering. Then the first man joined his friend inside. It is said that they both believed and did not believe. They returned home, probably believing less with each step back into reality. 

They left her. In their stunned wonder, they just left Mary there by herself. They left her there weeping. They did not stay to comfort her with their presence. Cautiously, she looked inside, for they had not even told her what they saw that spooked them so. She saw what they had not, two Angels dressed in holy white, casually sitting where a corpse should lie!

They asked her: "Why are you mourning?"

"They have taken away my heart! I do not know where to go to care for him!" 

They must not have answered her, for she turned away from the opening and the stone. She was startled to see the gardener standing there. 

The gardener asked her: "Why are you mourning?"

"Have you moved him to another plot? Please tell me so that I can bring him back!"

"Mary."

"Teacher?!" She knew her Shepherd's voice.

Jesus calmed her: "Do not keep me here, for I must yet go home to my Father's house. Go to our brothers and sisters and tell them that I ascend to our Abba, to our God; yours and theirs, theirs and mine."

She ran back, even faster than before: "I've seen him! He's alive!" Then she related the good news to them as she had been directed.

As we mourn death over and over, so too should we celebrate rebirth; over and over.

Christ the King Sunday

The last Sunday of the Church's year. The Sunday before Advent. As a convert (2003), I had always assumed that Christ the King Su...