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Track the story with your spirit

by davesandel on April 4th, 2021

Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021             (today’s lectionary)

The Resurrection of the Lord

Track the story with your spirit

Peter proceeded to speak about Jesus.

But don’t you remember what happened the night before the crucifixion? And the abject terror of the disciples immediately after? God’s presence, God’s power, the Holy Spirit all were as far from their minds as the east is from the west. God didn’t go anywhere, but the disciples, and their leader Peter most of all, had left the building. Judas killed himself, and the rest ran panic-blinded through the storm. How could Peter even open his shameful mouth?

The right hand of the Lord has struck with power. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His mercy endures FOREVER.

But then Friday resolved into Sunday, and the angel told the women, “Jesus is not here. He is risen!” And as it turned out, the disciples could not hide themselves away from Jesus. Where they were, he came. They locked the doors, but he came through the wall. When they condemned themselves for their cowardice and betrayal, Jesus forgave. When they were so sick at heart they could not eat, Jesus asked them for a piece of fish.

Brothers and sisters, if then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. By the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes. Therefore, with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, let us celebrate the feast!

Jesus told us it was good that he was leaving, that the Holy Spirit would more than fill the void he left. But what on earth did he mean by that? We might pretend to understand, but unless we experience it ourselves, unless we put our fingers in his wounds as Thomas did, unless we feel the breath of angels filling us with a new language of the spirit as happened on Pentecost … how can we do anything but mouth platitudes, and wait for God to give us what He wills?

Mary of Magdala came early in the morning to the tomb. It was still dark. She saw the stone was gone and ran to Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved. “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him!”

Ancient poetry celebrates what we celebrate, too, year after year after year. An eleventh century poem included in the Easter readings, called in Latin the Victimae paschali laudes, asks Mary what she sees as she walks alongside the life and death and new life of Jesus. In metric paraphrase, she responds, “I beheld where Christ had lain, empty tomb and angels twain, I beheld the glory bright of the rising Lord of light. Christ my hope is risen again; now he lives, and lives to reign.”

Easy for any of us to say now, but take a moment to let your spirit flow back into the running steps of Mary, racing along the path from the tomb to the disciples’ hiding place. Hear your heart beat wildly as you put yourself in Peter’s place, knowing the reality of your betrayals, knowing the force of Jesus’ love, frightened and heartbroken at Mary’s news.

Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran!

Peter didn’t stop but went straight in and saw that Jesus was gone. But the angel was not there to let them know the good news.

He went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, rolled up in a separate place. But they did not yet understand the Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.

So much, as yet unknown, is about to happen. Peter comes out of these days on fire to preach the Good News everywhere. In the next few weeks he will become The Rock, just as Jesus saw him from the very beginning.

I’m impulsive like Peter. Three days out of seven I lament bad choices or poorly expressed anger and frustration (maybe five days out of seven, actually). The peace of God that passes understanding passes me right on by.

But at dawn on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus invites me, too, to sit with Peter beside his morning fire, cooking some fish. Alongside his disciple Jesus asks me, too, to make my penance. Yes, Lord, I love you. Yes, Lord, I do love you. You know I love you, Lord. Then, in the fullness of Jesus’ forgiveness, my spirit opens up again to the quiet endless love of morning resurrection, of the Son of God, of Creator, of my Source.

(Acts 10, Psalm 118, Colossians 3, 1 Corinthians 5, John 20)

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