Rev. David R. Lyle
When the sabbath was over, 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. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” (Mark 16:1-7)
The women go but not with hope. They go simply to do what must be done when a loved one dies. Even this task poses impossible challenges, for who among them can roll away a stone so heavy? The point is rendered moot, and the women mute, as they are met by the most surprising scene of all. The stone is rolled away and Jesus is nowhere to be found. Christ is not here behind death’s closed door. He is alive, in Galilee and beyond, playing in places throughout creation. He has been raised. Alleluia!
At the end of our discipline we fall headlong into deep waters of mysterious grace. There is little left to do but to chase after Christ and cling to him in faith. Just so, the disciplines of Lent are revealed as the marks of resurrection living. The life of Christian discipline is not the Sisyphean striving of those without hope. It is the joyful response of those who are already right where they need to be. Today, we stand with the women, blinking in the light of the newly risen Son. He calls our name and brings us back to life. Alleluia!
The stone is rolled away, the life of discipleship beckons. Christ goes ahead of us, calling us to follow him on a journey of joy beyond measure. Go! There you will see him. Alleluia!
Easter Prayer: Risen Christ, the light of your life drives out all shadows. Let me walk in this light always. Amen.
Thank you for traveling with us through these Lenten Disciplines. May the realities of confession, repentance, fasting, almsgiving, prayer, and acts of mercy live in your life as together we celebrate God’s unending love for us revealed at the cross. And may the resurrected Christ free our hearts that we might proclaim that love to all the world.