As I sat in church today and heard the story of Mary (John 20), weeping at the tomb after she did not find Jesus there, I thought to myself “Oh, I know how she feels.” That broken hearted feeling of being sad and alone and like no one else understands but that particular person that you know would understand, who is not there. Or even worse, the feeling that no one else could ever understands what you’re feeling at that moment. If you’ve never felt like that, I suspect at some time you will. It’s heartbreaking, and yes….we feel sorry for ourselves.
But then, at just the right time, Jesus appears. As he usually does. No longer in the tomb, no longer dead to her, but available to comfort. Available to understand. Taking her from the depths of despair to the greatest of joy.
I think too often we distance ourselves from that relationship with God. From all our relationships. There is something about our nature (shall we just call it sin?) that separates us from God. That separates us from people. That makes us an island. That allows us to pull away from everybody and everything. Even knowing that our own isolation is what makes us feel alone and that possibly if we took a step forward, we wouldn’t be alone any more. But often we feel paralyzed.
But the great news of Easter, is the gift of the resurrection. That we can’t do it on our own, and we are helpless, paralyzed, or running in circles, if left on our own. But Jesus didn’t wait for us to do enough. He stepped toward us. He crossed the chasm of death, and a very painful death, to come straight to us. The crown of thorns, the stripes of the thrashings of many, the injustice of the mob, all of the pain and suffering of the world on him. Not just my sin, which seems like quite enough of a burden. Not just my pain. Not just yours. But that of all mankind. That’s a lot of pain. But yet, it’s personal….even I alone was enough for the sacrifice. We are each that special to God.
So woman, man…..why are you weeping? Why is your heart heavy? Resurrection has come. Every day, every minute, every moment…..each is a new opportunity of re-birth. We don’t just get second chances, we get millions of chances. And we aren’t alone. If you are standing there paralyzed, lift your head. You’ll see the risen savior, who totally understands where you are coming from. And the really great thing is that this is God. He is not part of the mob. He’ll cut through the mob mentality to truth. He will relieve your burden, not add to your guilt. He wants you, just as you are, with the tear-stained or belligerent face. Honest and broken before him. There is no need for a heavy heart. You have been given new life, which you are to live abundantly. But wait, there’s more. There is an ongoing Easter egg hunt, with treasures for you to find hidden all over the earth. Don’t miss even one! Life is a good gift, at Easter, and every day. And you are not alone.