Monday, April 9, 2012
Running from the Tomb
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Mark 16:1-8
As the week begins, with Easter Sunday behind us, we might be regretting the volume of candy we ate, or the things we left undone or unsaid this weekend. Returning to our daily routine we might simply forget the extraordinary experiences of the last few days, the betrayal and fear, the violence and death, the fathomless darkness and the empty tomb. It was all so long ago. But around us are folks who have so recently suffered pain and loss, who are still have no confidence that there is a resurrection, a renewal, new life for them in the midst of such personal darkness. In the glorious beauty of the spring, there are still many running from the cemetery, terrified and trembling feeling the full weight of life and death.
In the midst of the early morning darkness, a purple blue haze giving way to long rays of light, the women crept into the garden to anoint the body of Jesus. They had walked and talked, cried along the way, wondering how they would do their duty, caring for the corpse, and still in shock from the hideous violence and loss. They were worried about the huge stone and whether they could get help. When they found the unsealed tomb, and the empty tomb, the living apparition telling them Jesus was risen - well the women must have lost it, awash in fear and hope, and terror and confusion. Like all humans, it would take days and weeks to live into the truth of love, live into what had happened to them, to accept what they had been a part of. God had blessed them with the message of hope and new life. God had made the first messengers and it would take a while to live into the role. First, they had to deal with the trembling legs, the fluttering heart, the fear and confusion that overwhelmed their senses.
Today, on Easter Monday, I ask God to help me live into the role I have been given. I ask for strength and courage to carry the message of love and hope, no matter how weak and trembling my limbs might be. May we all, despite our challenges and uncertainties, run with joy to share God's love with the people we encounter today. May we trust God to make us strong to love and to serve. May we trust God to embrace the new life we have been given and share it with the world.