Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? Luke 24:5 (NIV)
Among The Dead – The Holy Week Series – Part 8
Sunday morning, Mary and others went to the tomb to anoint Jesus' decaying body with burial spices.
Maybe they talked a little, held each other while they walked. Maybe there were tears, dark circles under eyes… the grief was just beginning. Anyone who has ever lost someone knows that it's not the funeral or the moment of death that is the most painful – it’s the absence in the days after.
As they approached the tomb, they noticed that the guards were missing, the tomb was open, and a strange man stood nearby.
Had someone stolen his body? Had the authorities taken it? Could they not let Jesus rest in peace and allow those who loved him to grieve?!
The stranger approached them and said,
“Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day…”(Luke 24:5-6).
He would rise again on the third day?
I can imagine Mary: troubled, eyes to the ground, chewing on her finger a little as she thought. Then slowly, her eyes lift, her heart fills with realization as she looks at the stranger and begins to recognize him.
Resurrection isn’t about getting you into heaven: Jesus rose again into this life. He came back here. Resurrection is for here and now. Jesus resurrected life into this one declares that what happens HERE matters, how we treat each other HERE matters. Our LIVES HERE matter!
“He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end… So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.” Col 1:18-20 MSG.
Jesus, our Eucharist, the Good Gift.
Perhaps we are always dying in order to live. Death. Burial. Resurrection. The circle of life taking place within our own, every day in a million different ways.
Un-living begins we when we step outside of this trinity of events. When we refuse to let old ways, prejudices, offenses, abuses, and more, die. Or when we leave them rotting, unburied in our homes and hearts, polluting the air and corrupting the furniture.
Or when we stunt the new growth that longs to burst forth in our lives; when we hold back the resurrection, unable to recognize the miracle standing before us.
Paul wrote to his friends in Corinth and said, “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” (2 Cor 4:10-12).
At work not finished: it takes time.
It takes meals around tables full of food; bread and wine. Telling stories not just with words, but lives wide open, of journeys from enslavement to freedom, from death to life. As we keep room at our table for others, for the hungry; as we give ourselves over to deaths, burials, and resurrections; to loving ourselves and the world, healing begins. “Tikkun Olam” which is Hebrew for “world repair.” Resurrection. Bread and wine, body and blood, death to life. Love.
“Christ Crucified is all of the hidden, private, tragic pain of history made public and given over to God. Christ Resurrected is all of that private, ungrieved, unnoted suffering received, loved, and transformed by an all-caring God. How else could we believe in God at all? How else could we have any kind of cosmic hope? How else would we not die of sadness for what humanity has done to itself and to one another?
Jesus is the blueprint, the plan, the pattern revealed in one body and moment of history to reveal the meaning of all of history and each of our lives. The cross is the banner of what we do to one another and to God. The resurrection is the banner of what God does to us in return.” Richard Rohr.
This is our Holy Week Series from 2017 – Join us in our App for a fresh look at the week leading up to Easter.