Sunday, April 8, 2012

What if you find what you don't believe is there?


April 8, 2012

Good morning, friends,

It is Easter. Beyond my study window the early dawn light has begun to show faintly in the eastern sky.

The light must have been much like this that first Easter morning when Mary Magdalene first glimpsed the empty tomb. She ran in frantic grief to tell the disciples that the body of Jesus was gone, stolen, she supposed, and taken secretly to an unknown place.

The disciples in turn ran to see the tomb. Finding it empty as Mary had reported, they entered and found the grave clothes in which the body of Jesus had been wrapped now empty, the linen that had bound His head lying by itself in a separate place. John tells us that having examined the empty tomb and the grave clothes, the disciples then fled, going to their own homes (John 20:10).

But Mary stayed. Standing before the empty tomb, she bent, weeping, and looked in. Two angels were sitting, one at the head and one at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had lain.

“Why are you weeping?” the angels asked Mary.

“Because they have taken His body away,” she sobbed, “and I don’t know where He is.”

And as Mary turned away from the tomb, she saw a figure standing only steps away from her.

“Why are you crying?” the man asked. “Who are you looking for?”

Mary, supposing the man to be the gardener, said, “If you took His body, tell me where you placed it, and I will take Him away.”

Then Jesus (for it was He), called her by name—“Mary,” He said gently. And then she knew Him. “Master (Raboni)!!” she cried in joyous recognition.

“Don’t touch me,” Jesus warned her. “I am not yet ascended to my Father. . . but go to the disciples and tell them. . . .” (John 20: 11-18)

For most of you reading this, John’s account of the resurrection is an old story, one you have known from childhood. But sitting here watching the early dawn light filtering through the clouds, I find joy in revisiting John’s account of Mary’s part in the drama.

Mary did not come to the tomb in triumphant “faith” expecting to find a glorious resurrected Messiah. In the early morning darkness Mary came in grief carrying spices for the anointing of the dead. It was the tortured, dead body of Jesus that she expected to find. But in coming—the best that she could think to do—while she searched for His broken body, the resurrected Jesus came to her. While Mary, weeping and confused, turned expecting the gardener she found herself looking instead into the radiant face of the resurrected Christ. It was when, expecting only the silence of death, she heard His familiar voice, back now from hell itself, calling her by name.

Sitting here in this early dawn light two thousand years later, I know that like Mary I often do not understand God’s plan. At times I too look despairingly into the emptiness and silence of defeated dreams and expect to see only death. But like Mary I too know the shock of Eastering surprise when, so to speak, I was looking in despair for the gardener, Jesus has appeared in resurrection life and called me by my name.  "He is risen," Matthew said, "just as he said he would." (Matt. 28:6) He is risen indeed.

Seeking with you to see and know Him more clearly in this coming year of Eastered life.

See you next week.

Gay






















April 8, 2012



Good morning, friends,



It is Easter. Beyond my study window the early dawn light has begun to show faintly in the eastern sky.



The light must have been much like this that first Easter morning when Mary Magdalene first glimpsed the empty tomb. She ran in frantic grief to tell the disciples that the body of Jesus was gone, stolen, she supposed, and taken secretly to an unknown place.



The disciples in turn ran to see the tomb. Finding it empty as Mary had reported, they entered and found the grave clothes in which the body of Jesus had been wrapped abandoned, the linen that had bound His head lying by itself in a separate place. John tells us that having examined the empty tomb and the grave clothes, the the disciples then left, going to their own homes (John 20:10).



But Mary stayed. Standing alone before the empty tomb, she bent, weeping, and looked in. Two angels were sitting, one at the head and one at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had lain.



“Why are you weeping?” the angels asked Mary.



“Because they have taken His body away,” she sobbed, “and I don’t know where He is.”



And as Mary turned away from the tomb, she saw a figure standing only steps away from her.



“Why are you crying?” the man asked. “Who are you looking for?”



Mary, supposing the man to be the gardener, said, “If you took His body, tell me where you placed it, and I will take Him away.”



Then Jesus (for it was He), called her by name—“Mary,” He said gently. And then she knew Him. “Master (Raboni)!!” she cried in joyous recognition.



“Don’t touch me,” Jesus warned her. “I am not yet ascended to my Father. . . but go to the disciples and tell them. . . .” (John 20: 11-18)



For most of you reading this, John’s account of the resurrection is an old story, one you have known from childhood. But sitting here watching the early dawn light, I would like to revisit John’s account of Mary’s part in the drama.



Mary did not come to the tomb in triumphant “faith” expecting to find a glorious resurrected Messiah. In the early morning darkness Mary came in grief carrying spices for the anointing of the dead. It was the tortured, dead body of Jesus that she expected to find. But in coming—the best that she could think to do—while she searched for His broken body, the resurrected Jesus came to her. While Mary, weeping and confused, turned expecting the gardener she looked instead into the radiant face of the resurrected Christ. It was when, expecting only the silence of death, that she heard His familiar voice, back now from hell itself, calling her by name.



Sitting here in this early dawn light two thousand years later, I know that like Mary I often do not understand God’s plan. At times I too look despairingly into the emptiness and silence of defeated dreams and expect to see only death. But like Mary I too know the shock of Eastering surprise when while looking in despair for the gardener, Jesus comes in resurrection life and calls me by my name.



Seeking with you to see and know Him in this new year of Eastered life.



See you next week.



Gay






April 8, 2012



Good morning, friends,



It is Easter. Beyond my study window the early dawn light has begun to show faintly in the eastern sky.



The light must have been much like this that first Easter morning when Mary Magdalene first glimpsed the empty tomb. She ran in frantic grief to tell the disciples that the body of Jesus was gone, stolen, she supposed, and taken secretly to an unknown place.



The disciples in turn ran to see the tomb. Finding it empty as Mary had reported, they entered and found the grave clothes in which the body of Jesus had been wrapped abandoned, the linen that had bound His head lying by itself in a separate place. John tells us that having examined the empty tomb and the grave clothes, the the disciples then left, going to their own homes (John 20:10).



But Mary stayed. Standing alone before the empty tomb, she bent, weeping, and looked in. Two angels were sitting, one at the head and one at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had lain.



“Why are you weeping?” the angels asked Mary.



“Because they have taken His body away,” she sobbed, “and I don’t know where He is.”



And as Mary turned away from the tomb, she saw a figure standing only steps away from her.



“Why are you crying?” the man asked. “Who are you looking for?”



Mary, supposing the man to be the gardener, said, “If you took His body, tell me where you placed it, and I will take Him away.”



Then Jesus (for it was He), called her by name—“Mary,” He said gently. And then she knew Him. “Master (Raboni)!!” she cried in joyous recognition.



“Don’t touch me,” Jesus warned her. “I am not yet ascended to my Father. . . but go to the disciples and tell them. . . .” (John 20: 11-18)



For most of you reading this, John’s account of the resurrection is an old story, one you have known from childhood. But sitting here watching the early dawn light, I would like to revisit John’s account of Mary’s part in the drama.



Mary did not come to the tomb in triumphant “faith” expecting to find a glorious resurrected Messiah. In the early morning darkness Mary came in grief carrying spices for the anointing of the dead. It was the tortured, dead body of Jesus that she expected to find. But in coming—the best that she could think to do—while she searched for His broken body, the resurrected Jesus came to her. While Mary, weeping and confused, turned expecting the gardener she looked instead into the radiant face of the resurrected Christ. It was when, expecting only the silence of death, that she heard His familiar voice, back now from hell itself, calling her by name.



Sitting here in this early dawn light two thousand years later, I know that like Mary I often do not understand God’s plan. At times I too look despairingly into the emptiness and silence of defeated dreams and expect to see only death. But like Mary I too know the shock of Eastering surprise when while looking in despair for the gardener, Jesus comes in resurrection life and calls me by my name.



Seeking with you to see and know Him in this new year of Eastered life.



See you next week.



Gay



































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