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  • Writer's pictureDiana Wright

The Never Ending Story: It is Our Turn to Practice Resurrection


Easter 2017 15 AND 16 APR 2017

Last October the biggest event was that the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, ending an over 100-year drought. I had become cynical enough myself to believe I would die without ever seeing them win. You get so used to losing or near misses or almost made its that the reality seems impossible when it does happen. Most the time we live with disappointment. Yet that has never been true for Cubs fans, has it? There are no more optimistic people in the world than Cubs fans. We do learn to live with disappointments and those things that happen that go way beyond disappointment. Maybe it is a major problem at school or work: a fellow student or co-worker is harassing you; maybe we are under great financial strain, or perhaps the deepest sorrows are reserved for the loss of someone we love greatly. So it is with Mary Magdalene. Safe to say she was not a Cubs fan, but she was the apostle to the apostles. She was with another Mary (we don’t know which one) trying to come to grips with the death of her teacher, the one who was so unique and who had raised her and other women to his inner circle and shared ministry, something not done with women. She was there when he died and like all the others must have felt that the world had come to an end. The promise that everyone was a part of the new thing God was doing was just that: a promise and now it was broken. The servant leader, the man who had washed eve-ryone’s feet and said that is the way God wanted us to be with one an-other, was gone. Dead. She had seen him die, and with it all of her hopes. But Matthew knew, just as we knew, what Mary did not: the story was not over and IS NOT over. I wonder if the two Mary’s were going to the tomb to pray. Maybe, like most of us, they wanted to see the grave of someone they love and mourn his loss. But this was not to be a visit to the graveside like I make to my grandparent’s graves. When Jesus was born there appeared a heavenly host, when he was transfigured there appeared Moses and Elijah, and now: an earthquake, which would have sent lesser women scrambling for cover, followed by an angel of inde-scribable beauty who rolls back the stone and says, “Do not be afraid”, which makes he think I do not want to meet an angel anytime soon since they always must calm people’s fears. But then he gives them the words that still are said every Easter: “He is risen from the dead and you will see him.” That was all it took for the two Mary’s. They knew it was true; everything he had said was true. He lives and now they, too, would live. The promise is fulfilled for them. Cynics can say what they want, but the story was so quickly confirmed by so many that, while we don’t know exactly what happened, we do know it is truth. Mary was the bearer of that truth. It is why we start the Easter Vigil in darkness and then suddenly there is the new fire and candles and light. If we could have a very small earth-quake that would not be a bad idea either. Now we know: he lives and so do we. Nothing can do us in. Nothing. Like the Shaker hymn: No storm can shake my inmost calm, While to that rock I´m clinging. Since love is lord of heaven and earth How can I keep from singing? And now that we have heard the good news proclaimed and rung bells and lit our candles, we need to practice resurrection!! We need to fig-ure out what that looks like for each one of us. We believe in it, but will it be like me and learning to be a gourmet cook or play the guitar well? I think that both would be great things to master, but I am not willing to do the work to master them any more than I exercise every day, even though I know it is good for me. However, if we don’t practice resurrec-tion all of the lights and songs are worthless. What we need to know about resurrection comes from Maundy Thursday: we are to be serv-ants to one another and to those who need us. The world that God was trying to usher in through Jesus was not a top down government, but a world where we lead by following and we grow rich by giving away. The world was turned upside down at Easter and over the 2000 years that have passed since then, people keep trying to turn it right side up, but for those who are Christian the world needs to stay upside down and, in fact, needs to be turned even more upside down. So let’s run out of here, or at least leave at a fast walk, and go start practicing resurrection.

Amen

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