I can’t with the happy “He is Risen” memes today. I know that sounds super unChristian, but that’s where I’m at today. Sunday came too fast. I’m still on Friday. On Good Friday we like to hear “Sunday’s coming”, but today it feels like it cleans things up too easily. It feels like a sitcom in the 80’s when so-and-so had something really serious happen, but in 30 minutes it was resolved with a punch line. The serious matter was wrapped up in a bow and made pretty again.
That wasn’t the case for Mary Magdelene. It was Easter and Jesus had indeed risen, but from her perspective, he was missing. At this very point in the scripture, all she knows is Jesus is gone. She’s still on Friday. Sunday feels the exact same to Mary Magdelene as Friday felt, maybe worse. He made promises and now that she sees his body missing from the tomb, those promises feel empty. They were just words.
For some of us today, it still feels like Friday. The promises, the hope, the idea that Jesus is alive, all feel like well-meaning words from people who just don’t get it. John 20:18 is my favorite verse in this Sunday account. It’s not a chant of victory just yet. It’s not a bottle-popping locker room celebration. It’s the real Jesus meeting the real Mary.
She doesn’t know it’s Jesus yet when he speaks to her. He asks her twice “Woman, why are you crying?” He knows why, but he wants her to say it. Let it out. Talk to me. I’m here with you. “Who is it you are looking for?” Tell me what you want. Tell me what you need. This question feels deeper than locating a person. It feels like Jesus is asking her about her deepest desires. It’s not just about who, but what is she looking for.
He calls her by name. He knows her. He has known her. He sees her now. He sits with her now. She’s still on Friday, but as soon as he calls her by name, the dawn of Sunday begins.
Easter Sunday, 2015 (written by Matt Jones)
So that’s that:
another matter-of-fact year
with another matter-of-fact re-conquering
of death and all death’s forces done
while we – and you, I guess – slept.
But they tell me you were lightning
coursing through the earth’s crusted veins,
quickening plasma crashing in
with all the thunder
of a fluttering gasp and a heartbeat back
into the quiet dark. Which makes me
wonder, How long did you lie there,
loving the stale air and calm
before rolling off onto the
ground and into glory?
Do you miss them,
those few minutes when
no one knew you were alive and
you could finally rest with your miracles
of breath, stone, and solitude?
Well – sit with me then, in silence,
and think of those first moments.
I will learn to find life in this,
and you will find a home
in my slow-warming grave.