Monday, April 1, 2013

Her Lord Lives!

“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” (Mark 16:1-8)
“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jessus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.”
These words tormented Salome as they echoed in her head, and she wrestled to extract their meaning. She only spoke with Mary and Mary, with whom she had first heard them when they had gone with her to the tomb of Jesus early that morning.
The women didn’t want to wait. Last night as the Sabbath was coming to an end, and the sun was going down, they had gone to buy burial spices. They arranged to go and prepare Jesus a proper burial as early as they could, as soon as the sun would allow them enough light in the dark tomb to be able to see what they were doing. They were running out of time to do so, almost 48 hours had passed the way it was. Even in the coolness of a tomb hewn into rock, the body would soon begin to decay to a point where it would be impossible to prepare it properly.
They didn’t really want to bother the men with it, grief stricken as they were. But this is what women did, and they certainly weren’t going to trust that a couple men they barely knew had done it right. But now they wondered who would move the stone? Who would roll it away? That was man’s work. They would try themselves if they had to. But they really hoped to find a gardener or someone to do it for them. The stone was heavy, and it weighed heavy on their minds. If they had to go ask a disciple, the men could get upset. In their minds women could never just let things be good enough. They were always fussing about the place. And it was hard enough dealing with the death of such a beloved friend during such a holiday as this. It was supposed to be a joyous occasion, and now it had turned out so bitter. There was fear too. Women could do what they wanted. People would just dismiss them as busybodies. They knew this. But the men were not so certain that the Pharisees and Romans wouldn’t soon be after them also. They had placed some soldiers to stand watch at the tomb. They really didn’t want that hassle.
That stone was beginning to weigh heavier. It was everything they hated about the last couple days. The whole thing filled them with bitterness, resentment, fear, dread and hatred. It stood in the way between them and the last final act of love they wanted to be able to show their teacher and friend. How could they do it to their friend? Such a great man? How could they do this to they guy who had performed such wonderful miracles, He had healed the sick, made the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the mute to speak! Had he not preached good news to the poor just as the prophets had said! He had even brought people back from the dead. He always showed such concern for everyone. How could they do it? And then not even give them the body when he died. Well, that may have been a mixed blessing, they thought. Certainly they could not afford such a nice grave for Jesus. But that stone. That blasted stone. What would they do with that?
The dawn had come. The darkness lifted from the street. The women could see the city slowly starting back to life as they made their way to the tomb. Little flowers were beginning to show from between the cobbles here and there. A rooster chased a hen, and crowed. Little birds began to flit from tree to tree. Salome saw a sparrow, and remembered Christ speaking of how The Father knew when each one fell, and how much more they were worth to him than so many sparrows sold for two cents at the temple. Then what of Jesus? Wasn’t he worth so much more than sparrows also? How could it happen? Doves and pigeons scavenged for food. Did not one light on his shoulder after he had been baptized. It seemed everything she saw reminded her of something he had done.
They came upon the tomb. They were startled to see that the stone was gone! They ran in horrified, had someone moved him? He wasn’t there. The burial clothes were all folded neatly. Suddenly a man dressed in white startled them.
“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”
The women left as scared as they had gone in. Trembling and astonishment grabbed them. At first they were even to afraid to relay his message. They didn’t know whether to even believe it. But as the day went on, others went and saw the tomb empty. A few reported seeing Jesus himself. It resonated with Salome. What had the man said? “He is risen.” Indeed, he is risen. Why would he not be? Was not this man the one who raised from the dead like Elijah? Was he not the one who preached good news to the poor? Yes, he is risen indeed, the best news he could preach to the poor. Yes indeed, the Father did know when a sparrow fell from heaven, and now he showed just how much more he was concerned for them than so many sparrows. The stone was gone. Jesus had risen. Her Lord was alive! The weight lifted. Love was restored. Her Lord lived. Now she lived too.

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