Alleluia Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia! Throughout the world this day people have sung and said these words. And I wonder – is this what was on the lips and in the hearts of Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and the other women when “they did not find the body” of their beloved Jesus lying on the limestone shelf in the cool dark cave early that first Easter morning? Things certainly were not as they expected.
When things don’t turn out the way we expect, when we look into the darkness of an uncertain future, when emptiness and confusion fill us – how do we respond? I don’t know about you, but when things don’t work out in accord with the picture in my mind I don’t shout alleluia! When I am perplexed, disappointed, distressed or afraid it is hard for me to see any light never mind shout for joy.
So how is it the women who went to Jesus’ cave prepared to anoint his body with spices were able to find light in the darkness of his empty tomb? The two men (angels) in “dazzling clothes reminded the women that their friend Jesus did not expect his life to be a bed of roses. Jesus expected to be “handed over to sinners and be crucified,” to suffer and die, “and on the third day rise again” in new life. And the women remembered what Jesus had told them.
What if we shared Jesus’ expectation? What if instead of imagining that life is meant to be a steady state of ease and comfort we expected life to be an ceaselessly changing journey of possibilities and surprises? What if instead of imagining that difficulty, disease and suffering where signs of God’s absence we embraced our afflictions as occasions for relying on God’s grace? What if we allowed ourselves to relax into the experience of our lives – just the way they are? What if in the darkest moments – looking into the empty tomb – we remembered that life is endlessly emerging and that the spark of light arises from the heart of darkness? What if we walked The Way of Jesus, consenting to our lives as given and being raised into new life?
Neither consolation nor desolation is constant. Life is not a steady state. Day resolves into night; night is the dawning of day. It is the light found in the remembering of what is not present that is the light of hope. It is this light the women realized in the empty tomb.
Alleluia Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!
Please engage the "Weekly Bible Reading" for next Sunday and post your reflections.
We look forward to hearing from you. Debra