Today we celebrate, bringing glory to God and the miracles worked in Christ Jesus. Our church service this morning was the perfect picture of "a multitude keeping festival," and had I the presence of mind between singing and praying and celebrating, I'd have remembered to capture a moment of it for you. Instead, I offer you this -- one of my favourite passages of the New Testament.
"Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So 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.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes."
This moment -- panic, loss, heartache. He had died, His spirit gone, and now they had lost even His body. For as yet, they did not understand.
"But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They 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.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” 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.” Jesus said to her,“Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher)."
But then, this. This moment, with this woman. I hear the amused confusion of the angels, "Woman, why are you weeping?" They're asking her, why are you weeping when you should be laughing? Why are you weeping when you should be rejoicing? But she doesn't yet understand. And then the turn, and I can breathe aloud her exclamation at the moment of recognition with the same awestruck amazement. At "Rabboni!" I feel her heart swell, her hope return. At "Rabboni!" I feel life surge back into this moment. I hear His victory sounding, and death's demise.
For He is risen indeed. Hallelujah!