Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”…
11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. (John 20: 1-2, 11-18)
These hours have been such a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. But in this moment, I am beginning to see what it was all about. I want to hold her and comfort her and explain it all but Jesus’ young friend Mary is running around with a mix of hysteria and excitement. Maybe she, too, is beginning to understand. I always knew who he was, knew from that surreal night when the angel came. I probably would have thought I was losing it but Joseph had had a dream too. Oh, that seems so long ago and yet, I remember it like it happened just a second ago. No one really understood. No one ever understood. But we did. We knew who he was. But not until this moment did I really grasp it.
I hope that the world does not take this as a do-over of some sort. Because it is all part of it—everything up to this moment and everything that comes to be. All of time and all of space and all creation points to this and is illuminated by it. All of those generations that carried the story to me and the generations that stretch out beyond where I will ever see are in this moment. I now understand that that strange brilliance that led us to Bethlehem and then stayed with us through the night that he was born has been with me always. And he showed me that. But I didn’t understand until now.
The memories come flooding back to me now—more than three decades of memories. They will take several days to process. But now they are not memories wrapped in grief. I understand that they are the story—his story, my story, Joseph’s story, the world’s story. God came into the world and walked with me. God invited me to dance with the Divine, to touch, to love, to hold the Godself. There was nothing special about me. I have always been so ordinary. But now I see that my life is an incredible mix of the ordinary and the sacred. God has come. And now I understand that God was always here. And will be forevermore. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed.” I do feel blessed. I pray that the world will begin to understand.
There was, indeed, something I had missed about Christianity, and now all of a sudden I could see what it was. It was the Resurrection! How could I have been a church historian and a person of prayer who loved God and still not known that the most fundamental Christian reality is not the suffering of the cross but the life it brings?…The foundation of the universe for which God made us, to which God draws us, and in which God keeps us is not death, but joy. (Roberta Bondi)
FOR TODAY: Begin to make room. There’s more to the story than you thought.
Peace to you in this often-hectic week,