Sunday, April 5, 2015

Terror and Amazement

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Jesus. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?" When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you." So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Mark 16:1-8

The night my mother died, I washed her with a cloth from her belongings. I thought about the women who went out early in the morning, after the sabbath, to wash and anoint Jesus' body. I had to wait awhile and had time to wash her face and neck before they took her away. The women, that first Easter, had no time, and Jesus' body had been taken away without any ritual washing or binding. The task ahead of them was grim and yet something they needed to do. I needed to so this as an honor for my mother. She had probably washed me a million times, cleaning scrapes and messes from the surfaces of my body. How holy it is to be able to wash a beloved one as we send them forth.

The women who went to the tomb probably sang and wept as they went. Their sorrow and love was too deep to be held back. They wanted to honor the one they followed and loved, the one who healed them, forgave them and made them family. They sought out a very difficult task because it meant the world to them. It was holy. More than just simply women's work, it was an honor dance, a moment to acknowledge to the love and life that has left this world. To their surprise, and everyone else, the guarded, secured tomb was empty and an angel had amazing news for them. It was incredible, wondrous and completely unbelievable. They ran home with excitement and fear. They had no idea how to live with this news. And neitherdso we. We are invited to believe and see how resurrection transforms our lives, to live with Easter hope, despite all that is falling around us.

Today I ask God to help me rejoice in the promise of resurrection for us all. May we have the strength to live as those marked for eternal life, those who will receive new life, new bodies and a new world, even as our worlds are passing away. May we love fiercely and completely, following the model of the one who gave his life for all.


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.

1 comment:

Brewster Bird said...

Thank You, very hopeful.