Sunday, April 21, 2019
Acts 10 and Colossians 3
They put Jesus to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised on the third day. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name … Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Pre-dawn. The crickets rumble. Humid fog obscures the path to Jesus’ tomb.
If only they will open the grave. At the break of morning light, we can care for Jesus, care for his body, care for the man we love.
Hail, Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee.
Distant stars still bright caress the women’s cheeks. Unexpected breeze spins by them, as the dark begins to brighten, as the light begins to shine. Olive trees in nighttime silhouette begin their morning - birds sing and fly from branch to branch. The Holy Spirit rises in their midst.
Now the women see a man. “Can’t you tell us where they’ve taken him?” They cry, they weep, they wonder, because the open grave is empty. There’s no one lying in the darkness, no one lying in the shroud.
They don’t get it. Why is that man laughing? Why does that man smile with such joy? Does he not see our tears? For three days we’ve not eaten, not with Jesus dead, Jesus killed, Jesus crucified. Our Lord is gone. Why is that man laughing?
But the gardener’s gentle words surprise them. “Mary!” he exclaims.
Does he really know my name? Can it be?
The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
His name sings and heaven rings and Mary falls close by the ground. “Look up,” he says, “look up and laugh with me. I have risen from the grave and I’m alive. Mother of God, rise up and see your son.”
Memories flood her mind. Wedding wine, children healed, such wise stories. The lame walk, the blind see, and Jesus washes all their feet. My son, carried into Jerusalem with joy, just a few days later laboring under the heavy cross. Then nailed to it, then pierced and buried. But now?
How can it be? But it is. This is Jesus.
“Go to my brothers,” he tells her. “Tell them I am going to my Father. Tell them I will see my God and your God.”
He's alive, this man, who loves everyone like God loves them. Last night we read the story of Zacchaeus to Miles from his Jesus Storybook Bible. His neighbors hated Zacchaeus, but Jesus didn’t. Zacchaeus was very short, and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus. Jesus went to his house for dinner. No one ever came to see Zacchaeus. But Jesus did.
“Jesus was Zacchaeus’ friend, even when no one else was. Jesus was showing people what God’s love was like: his wonderful, Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.”
Jesus, Mary prayed for you and now you pray for her and all of us. Now and at the hour of our death. You shine in our lives like a circle round the sun. In the pouring on us of your love, we are happy and blessed and forever full of joy.