Mary, the mother of Jesus on the way to the tomb

Sunday morning dawns and I feel strangely quiet inside. Grief’s hurricane has emptied my heart. Where activity created energy to live, all has ceased, dying down to a flat, windless quiet. On the outside, everything is still as well. The world is still waking, the day hasn’t found its voice yet. For a few moments, we are in harmony. Quiet yet inexorably moving forward.

The women arriving at the tomb

A gaping black entrance. That’s what we saw first. After all the indignities and lies they spread, outrage flooded my very being. How dare they desecrate his body! Magdalen immediately ran to get Peter and John. We moved further into the tomb. When the angel spoke, fear, like I’d never known, replaced all the outrage. Overcome, I couldn’t get my thinking to respond. So, we ran. 

John – Looking back sometime later

I don’t know how we missed the women running to us. Magdalen had not seen the angel, so we didn’t know. When we got to the tomb there was no angel, only his grave clothes. They were there, folded neatly, which struck me hard. Why would anyone bother to fold burial cloths? Then I knew. Somehow, somewhere, Jesus was alive! For me, belief came then. For the rest, it came later, and for some, much later.

Why did belief come so slowly to us? Why was His return so quiet? So ordinary? Circumstances shaped so much of our thinking. We couldn’t hear Him apart from the solid reality of what we could see. Would we have believed faster if thunder had roared and He was lifted in all his glory for all to see? Maybe. It probably would have made more sense to us. As it was, He knew we would need time. Time to absorb the massive shift of reality. Time to move past the sensationalness of what had happened into its meaning. He knew we would need time to reaffirm deep love so that when He sent the Spirit, we were ready. He always knew us better than we knew ourselves.

I don’t think we’ll ever know in this life what it cost Him to be with us. When we see Him again, I’d like to ask Him that. But I know what He’ll say. “My Father, the Spirit and I have loved you for a very long time. The joy of uniting you with us surpasses any sorrow.” Then He’ll probably show me those mansions he talked about not so long ago.

But until that day comes, His words stand: “I have loved you since before you were born. I have given everything for you because I want you. Let Me love you. Love Me back. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Tell this to the world as you live in your communities, speak in your churches, raise your families. Tell this to anyone who will hear. And when the time is right, I will come for you and you will know what Love is like face to face.”

ACTION: What meaning does the Resurrection hold for you today? Are there places where you wish you could “believe faster” in the truth of what God is doing in your life? The invitation to give and receive love threads through the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection. How will you answer the invitation?


Joining Together - Day 25 - Holy Week Saturday
Joining Together - Day 27 - Reorient