Sunday, April 20, 2014

A New Day Dawns


After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, `He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.' This is my message for you." So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." Matthew 28:1-10

A New Day Dawns - Mary's Journal 

It is still hard for me to believe. I have no idea how to wrap my mind around what happened today! We women have been huddled together for the past days, waiting until the Sabbath was over and we could go out and anoint my son's body. We had gathered the herbs and oils we needed yesterday after sundown, and sat in the kitchen talking. None of us has any desire to relive the horror of the crucifixion, and I was reluctant to see his bloodied and battered body once again. But it had to be done.

We got out to the tombs early - before sunup - hoping to go quietly and unseen. The men had given us money to pay for the guards to move the stone, and we were praying there would be no trouble. I could not bear to get close to the tomb until it was all arranged, so Mary Magdalene went first and found the guards sleeping. Right before she woke them, a huge noise like an earthquake happened, and she noticed that the stone rolled away. She started screaming and we all ran to her. The guards came to see what the commotion was all about. When he saw the stone rolled away,they also screamed in horror for they were stationed there to prevent robbers and crazy people stealing Jesus' body.

 Mary crept near the tomb and was greeted by an angel. We all drew close and witnessed this. The guards shook in their boots like little boys and finally ran away. The angel told us that my son had risen, that he was alive! I feel to my knees in shock. The others helped me up and led me in. The angel showed us the burial linens, still soaked in blood. His blood. We were instructed to go on to Galilee and that he would meet us. I could hardly catch my breath for the joy and fear all rolled into one. The other women were in shock also, as none of them had witnessed angels visiting. That was the one thing that was not so surprising to me. Once the angel left us we took off as fast as our feet would carry us.

As we got to the edge of the garden we all stopped suddenly. There he was! My son, my beautiful boy! Restored to life, beaming like a young child. We all embraced him, crying, laughing and praying. He touched my face and lifted me up. The love in his eyes told me everything. It was finished. All that we had suffered, the displacement, the shame and abuse, the violence and horror. Love took it all away, for this is what God had wanted all along. For love to be victorious. For love to set us all free. Fear and death were defeated and love won out over all.

We are waiting for the disciples to return. They may not believe us but we will make them go with us to Galilee. I am a mess of emotions - so much joy after so much grief. I can barely talk or eat. I find myself giggling and then crying like a little girl. This life and these bodies of ours are so magnificent and so fragile. And yet God had promised there is more to life, and there is always more love.

This is my simple prayer on this splendid day - that God will help me to be fearless for here on out. I have lived through such loss and sorrow. And yet God has shown me there is more - more life and more love. May my heart be ever focused on more life, more love.

The Collect
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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