|Image by by Adam Bowie|
My soul shall rejoice in the Lord!
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other 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.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ 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 Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
(John 20:1; 11-18)
After listening to this music, you may want to try replaying the choral portion
(from minute 3:08 on), and the video at bottom, at the same time.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Those of us who are Christians can also remember the example of Someone who lived with a sense of meaning and purpose in the most chaotic and oppressive time. We have only to recall that Jesus lived with God as the point of his being. Again and again, he told his disciples that he had come from God and was going to God. He knew who he was, that his deepest identity lay in the mystery that he was born of God. And he knew that he was for God, that he had come to announce the great dream of God, the dream of the reign of God and the great economy of grace. This was the meaning and purpose of his life. It was his passion. His affirmation of the point of his life was profoundly based on his gratitude for being born of God.... Jesus left us with this vision, a vision worthy enough to summon every aspect of our being and the whole of our lives. Yet, this vision is not a blueprint. It is not a detailed plan of what we are to do and how we are to do it. It has been left to us to fill in the blanks, as it were. The great dream of God for the world is not a concrete plan, but it is compelling. It gives us a sense of how the story of the world and of how our own story will end. It will end as it began - in goodness. It makes all the difference in the world to believe that the dream of God for the world is going to happen.
- from Radical Gratitude by Mary Jo Leddy
Verse for the Day
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’
|Cherry blossoms in Wuhan (Image Source)|
This has likely been the most extraordinary Lent and Holy Week we have ever known. Being alive is always an adventure in life and death but during this Lent we have become perhaps more keenly aware of it than we ever have. When we began Lent in late February, none of us yet knew the phrase ‘physical distancing’. The coronavirus was on the horizon but not yet frightening to us. Then within a matter of ten days, it seemed as if the whole world had changed. Schools closed, businesses were shut down, and entire nations were put on lockdown. Suddenly we found ourselves in our homes alone and isolated, waiting to see what happens next. Now, some weeks later, we have arrived at one of the most joyful days of the Christian calendar, and yet we are meeting it with a quiet sobriety. Our dinner tables are missing important loved ones, whom we worry about as they live out this time on their own. In this strange half-dark, half-light reality, we have an opportunity to connect with the silence of the city of Jerusalem two thousand years ago, as Mary Magdalene makes her way through the pre-dawn streets to anoint Jesus. Her spices are her healing arts, while grief still fills her heart. Hurrying in the early light, she does not know that she is rushing toward the future of the world. At the tomb she has the encounter that is at the very center of our faith. Although we are still in a Holy Saturday reality, we are an Easter people. Being an Easter people means we hope for and work to create signs of new life wherever we can. We help to build up the realm of God by lifting up the poor and the marginalized, by advocating for those who seek justice, by doing what we can to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all people. Beyond our focus on the pandemic, we can use this period of isolation to do what we can to educate ourselves on the wider issues of our world, of climate justice, creation care, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, food security, gender justice. Being an Easter people means we never have nothing to do, because the presence of Jesus in our hearts makes us restless for restoration in all things. In the video at bottom, we see the medical practitioners who came to Wuhan to fight the coronavirus in January — being reunited earlier this week with their loved ones after more than three months away. While it may feel a bit sad for us to watch them hugging their families when we are not able to do so, they offer us Easter courage. Their long and intense journeys to bring healing to others has ended for now — and they have survived. As we head into the coming weeks, how can we hold on to and practice resurrection hope? How can we keep the risen Jesus always in front of us?
Today marks the end of the LC† Reimagining Justice Lent and Holy Week devotional. Thank you to all who faithfully participated and who commented on the social media pages. Given this time of continuing uncertainty and upheaval, a new Easter season devotional will be offered, starting on April 19th, posting every few days. Until that time, may we all hold the peace of the risen Christ in our hearts and at the center of our faith. Blessed Easter!
LC† Reimagining Justice is a project of
Lutherans Connect / Lutheran Campus Ministry Toronto,
supported by the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
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