With the words, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” John’s gospel ushers in the miracle of the resurrection. Jesus’ one word response, “Mary,” stops my heart time and time again.
I never get tired of reliving the resurrection story from Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem, through the Passover feast on Thursday night and Jesus death as a traitor to the state on Friday, the eternal pause that is Holy Saturday, through the celebration to follow. It is indeed a holy week, a holy time for us all to pause and remember.
Jesus was not killed because he was a nice guy and the world doesn’t like nice guys.
He was killed because he was challenging both the political power structure and the religious power structure of his time. He was killed by the Romans as one who was inciting an insurrection, and turned over to them by the those in the religious community who had the most to lose.
Jesus paid a price for living in alignment with God’s purpose for humanity. Jesus’ death reminds us that the forces of darkness in the world are indeed powerful. But the light indeed shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it
That is the lesson of Easter and one we should come back to time and time again. Darkness and death may seem to win for a time, but they will not, they cannot win in the end. God’s light and love will prevail – even over death. Even a terrible death like the one that Jesus endured. But it isn’t only about that. It’s that we follow and worship a God that knows pain and suffering and death. And while I never believe that suffering is redemptive, or something that God makes us go through, we never go through the suffering of this life alone. God knows our suffering and hears our prayers and promises to walk with us all the days of our life. God is a god of life and love and restoration and indeed, resurrection. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
This Lent we have used the book, “A Time to Grow: Lenten Lessons from the Garden to the Table” and I have enjoyed the ways that the book has given me ideas for worship. As a community, we are changing – some of the familiar faces are no longer with us. But we are also growing with new members and a sense of promise. God is not done with us yet, and that is a thing to celebrate.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges ahead, but it does mean that we won’t face them alone. God has been faithful, and as we walk forward in faith, I know that God is walking with us. Perhaps that is the lesson of Easter. Perhaps in this time and place, this is what resurrection looks like.