– Happy Easter / Blessed Easter…Not happy in the way Easter is supposed to be happy.
Heard a lot of comments this year about how Easter will be different…in the midst of grief and death and fear…Some noticed though that it may be closer to what the first Easter was…Proclamation in a time of fear and grief, loneliness. Traumatic events. No trumpet. Sentence was striking to me. President: hard week, another hard week…Just what happened to the disciples, people at Jesus’s time. Holy week. The hardest week of all…Maybe we’ll get a better understanding of the story of the R that is so puzzling to us.
– Story we have today is from John’s Gospel. One of my favorites…This is really my favorite. Mary at the center of the drama. In the midst of the drama / THE drama. First responder. Does what she can, all she can, not much. Follows Jesus, watches him die, washes his body, visits him at the tomb. Helplessness. If you ever lost somebody you loved after doing “all you could” / suffering of many today. She did all she could and in the end, it’s not enough to save Jesus, not enough to save herself from grief. Like all first responders, people are going to tell her that she is brave…like all first responders, she’s going to say there is nothing else she can do, yet she still brave. We’re brave not only because we choose the hardest, but also in the absence of choice. In the absence of choice, following her fate, she shows love and this is the one she is, the one who “shows love” said Jesus – Jesus always had nicknames for his disciples – Luke 7 – And because she “shows love” (most important) love will be shown to her / love will be manifested.
– R: act of love. Jesus does not come back to be w/ disciples again (this time) but to take them with him eventually. We hear all the time at Christmas that J came to be w/ us b/c he loves us. But it’s the same at Easter! Except that this time he comes so we can be with him. It’s not God’s will to cut lives short, God wants us to follow our destiny, it is yet our ultimate destiny to be with God. Reconciliation. Life eternal: being together. With God and one another. My Father, your Father / My God, your God = In John, R is really about being together (Jesus’s farewell discourses) All the Bible what is it about? Jeremiah” story of an exile. Of course geographical, historical exile, it can be a moral exile (sin, not living in God’s ways) but it is mostly a spiritual exile. From not being w/ God to be in God’s kingdom.
– Jesus meets Mary in the midst of her exile, in the midst of her anxiety, not when she’s able to calm herself (Maybe that’s why the boys ran away). Mary cannot help herself. There is nothing more she can do for Jesus, to save herself from grief and to calm down. There is only so much we can do. A lot of our ways of understanding spiritual life now is about control, how you can make it happen to be this wise, disciplined and peaceful person. And there are certainly things you can do to help become like that, yet a genuine spiritual experience is when God finds you, still able to find you in the midst of your deepest misery, then you know it does not come from you. Not that many spiritual experiences, but happened to me in the midst of deep grief when I could not control my spi life / when I could not help myself. That’s when you know if comes from God – Blessing: “Peace that surpasses understanding” – even if you can’t grasp it. And so that’s when Jesus manifests himself to Mary, when she is overwhelmed by her pain, not when she is spiritually available.
– God helps those who help themselves, so we say…we certainly have to help ourselves / help one another but when it comes to the ultimate promise / and the promise at the root of all promises = we just have to receive it. Gift. We cannot give life to ourselves. Our money won’t save us. See our limitations and what’s really important. That the people we love are okay. All the rest fades in comparison. God is the God of life and we are made for God and God wants us to be with God and that’s the work Jesus came to do and still do for us. The ultimate will is a will for love and life
– Invited to prayer and hope in the midst of what we can’t understand. Mary was overwhelmed, yet she stayed there waiting for Jesus b/c she had this glimmer of hope. Standing there at the tomb was her prayer. If you have love, you cannot not have hope.