“Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to the (two angels), “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.” John 20:13b-14
Dear Zion Parishioners,
On Easter we have the opportunity, in our liturgy and prayer, to relive the joy of the Resurrection. But as the reading above makes clear, the risen Christ often appears to us in a form we don’t recognize. Mary Magdalene turned from her grief at the empty tomb and saw Jesus. But she must turn again, or be fully converted, before she can recognize the voice and face of her beloved teacher. “Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned (again) and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” John 20:16
In Scripture, turning represents a conversion; a turning toward the Holy in awe and wonder, just as Moses turned toward the burning bush and heard the voice of God telling him to take off his sandals because he was standing on Holy ground. The miracle of the Resurrection is that Jesus continues to come to us again, and again, turning our ordinary ground into Holy space.
Our Holy Week liturgies give us the opportunity to stare longingly into the empty tomb. We can name, before God, the emptiness in our lives and imagine a world without Jesus in it. This is what happened to the disciples. The Last Supper was really the last time they ate with him. Until they ate with him again in his risen form he had ceased to be. This is where we often find ourselves - caught between faith and self-centeredness; forgetting that Christ has risen, and relying solely on our own gumption to get us through the day.
Thanks be to God, we don’t have to go it alone. Each year gives us the opportunity to turn again, and see the Lord with new eyes. All of our grief, all of our sorrow, and all of our hope is met with the promise of salvation and joy as Jesus sees us for who we really are and calls us each by name.
Alleluia, Christ is Risen!