4:30 came too early this morning. I awoke to my friend pounding on the door, my dog going crazy, and my little girl shouting, “Be quiet Jade!” Moments later I was up and out the door…it was Easter Sunday.
For months, my church has been imagining an experience that would help people step into both the complexity and the implications of this ancient-present-future moment. As we considered how that weekend may have played out, we were struck by the difference between our waking moments and the waking moments of the original Jesus-community.
My day began with a pounding heart (due to the knocking and the barking) but quickly shifted to excitement as the cobwebs receded and it dawned on me that I had awoken into a day alive with resurrection potential. The experience is very different for the three mentioned in John 20. I imagine that the waking moments for Mary were accompanied with the immediate return of the jack-hammer pain of loss. I can’t help but to imagine that tear-stained cheeks were wet again by fresh tears as the memory of the brutal murder of the now-deceased flooded her mind.
“I was convinced He was who He said He was.”
“Why did I remain silent?”
“Would it had been easier if I had never met this man?”
“What am I going to do now?”
Note the contrast between our heartbeats.
Mine were quickened with anticipation as, before long, I knew that I would be gathering with my community of the Resurrected, remembering the Story so to more fully embody it.
Mary’s were slowed due to the weight of outrage and inescapable sorrow. Like me, Mary remembered, only she remembered not the alive but the dead.
In an effort to capture the complexity of it all so to also capture the hope and today-implications, we invited our community into the story through the lenses of the original Jesus-community. As we hiked in the pre-dawn moments, our attention was periodically drawn to lantern-lit questions and everyday ancient elements. I watched as individuals paused longer by some questions/elements than others…I watched as a community journeyed deeper into the resurrection reality.
The longer (and higher) we hiked, the lighter it became…the sun was going to rise soon! The irony was unmistakable as, while we know the outcome of the Story, Mary had no idea. As we approached our destination (a ridge overlooking Mt. Diablo) Mary reached her’s (a tomb encasing her beloved Rabbi…or so she thought).
The image of the broken seal of a stone tomb elicits two different realities: for us, both the hope of new life and participation in the God-mission; for Mary, despair. Here, again, we are faced with the complexity of being human participants in the God-life. Why couldn’t Jesus have met her as she gazed at the inky blackness of the tomb’s entrance? Rather than awakening Mary in that moment, the resurrected Jesus is absent…or at least silent.
Next, we read of the foot race between Peter and John to the grave. What are they thinking? Is Peter still replaying a fusion of sounds: rejection, rooster’s crow, whip-ripping flesh, hammer-striking nail? What pushes John’s threshold for pain as he runs faster, faster, faster? Why doesn’t he go into the tomb when he arrives? Why does Peter descend in without a second thought? What do they truly “believe” as they depart?
And then we find Mary, by the tomb again…as our celebration continues with “Jesus conquered the grave; He conquered the grave!”
In the simultaneous journeys of two Jesus-communities, both are communities of the Resurrected…one knows it, one doesn’t…yet.
But before long, both communities knew it.
In the simultaneous journeys of two Jesus-communities, one lived like it was true…will the other?