He is Not Here by Walter Rane
Gospel of John Reading Plan
Day 37 Reading: John 20:1-18
Bringing the Word to Life
When Jesus rose the grave clothes were left behind. Reflect on Jesus’ bodily resurrection as you fold some clothes, a tissue, or a piece of cloth.
Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!”
– John 20:18 (NRSV)
John Chrysostom, a selection from The Easter Homily
Hell took a body, and face to face met God!
It took earth, and encountered Heaven!
It took what it saw, but crumbled before what it had not seen!
“O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory?”
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and Life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the tombs!
For Christ being raised from the dead, has become the first-fruits of them that slept.
To Him be glory and dominion through all the ages of ages!
In John’s version of the Easter story, Mary Magdalene makes her way to the tomb to find it open and Jesus’ body missing. She runs to tell the disciples. Peter and another disciple run to the tomb to investigate and then leave for home. Mary stays and encounters two angels and then Jesus himself. She runs back to tell the disciples what has happened. Jesus is risen from the dead!
The authenticity and transparency of Mary’s emotional journey that first Easter captures my heart.
Mary makes her way to the tomb… sobbing, solitary, silent. She is struck by a sudden rush of surprise and horror as she finds the tomb open and Jesus’ body missing. She races back to the disciples- her broken heart crushed yet pounding in her chest. Three of them race back to the tomb to find the grave clothes scattered on the cold, stone slab. The men investigate then leave and she is alone again. Her head swimming and her stomach nauseous, “Where have they taken him?” She imagines all the ways they might be further desecrating Jesus’ body. She looks inside again hoping to wake from this nightmare. Her eyes, now swollen from dust and salty tears are now almost blinded by the brightness of the angels’ appearance. They try to speak to her but she turns away only to encounter someone else. Overcome by anguish, she begs him hysterically for the location of Jesus’ body.
Then, through the terror and the pain, she hears her name… Mary. In that exquisite moment, all is instant peace. Her eyes open to behold her beloved Savior. She reaches for him as she collapses to the soft, dark earth. He gives her a message, the most beautiful and hopeful message every given. She rises and runs again to the other disciples, this time alive with joy.
Now is a good time to remember that the grace given to us by God to become contemplative comes to us at great cost–namely, Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of the world. We are redeemed and made “response-able” (contemplative) because on the Cross, Jesus re-opened the way to God which original sin had closed. That’s the main reason why contemplatives are among the most humble people in the world. We can never take credit for our spirituality. Life is Gift. Jesus has accomplished what we never could. We must never separate our attentiveness to God from the atonement. Through Christ our “sight” has been restored, our “hearing” repaired, and our spirits returned to the condition where deep communion with God is possible. – Steve Harper
Break through Jesus.
Break through the tombs we make for ourselves.
Break through the rocks others would bury us beneath.
Break through the layers of sin and habit, pain and terror
callused eyes, hardened mind, gravelly heart
Break through poverty and prejudice and hate
through lack of opportunity and despair
through our imaginings and our realities
We know nothing can keep you in the grave
You are risen, just as you said
We trust you to raise us up with you.
and to make us alive with your joy. Amen.
For more information on the Gospel of John Reading Plan, click here
For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please leave a comment