It’s all over – the time of preparation, washing of feet, the altar stripped, we have prayed and read and sang, re-told and re-membered Christ’s journey to the cross, his body nailed to it – his last breath. We have asked where God might be in all of this and a new dawn has risen.
It’s over. We are here. And Jesus is no where to be found.
Where has he gone? Where could he be?
We have prepared – given up meat, alcohol, swearing- taken on praying, listening, journaling, all to make ourselves ready to meet the risen Christ.
And he is nowhere.
Or at least not where we might expect him to be – waiting for us – in the tomb, behind a large rock.
He’s not there.
“Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He’s been raised; he’s not here…” Leave a message at the tone and he’ll do his best to get back to you.
The risen Jesus was never going to stay in the tomb. He was never going to lay around waiting for us to get it. What did we think we were preparing ourselves for, really?
In Mark’s Gospel, he has headed back to Galilee – back to the place where it all began. Back out into the world where there is work to be done, where there are people to be engaged and to be in ministry to and with.
This is our call.
Not to stay as we are, not to prepare ourselves and then go back to the way we were before, not necessarily to head out into ministry of a whole new place.
No, in fact, we are most often called to be in ministry right where we are. Many of us meet Jesus – and then have to keep on living right where we were – but changed.
What did it mean for you, that you took on a Lenten practice, if in fact you did? How did it change you and will you have an Easter practice because of it; A new way of being in your relationship with the Risen Christ?
Jesus most often calls us where we are. With the people that we know and the people that we love – we head back into the world changed because of our encounter – but too often we leave and tell no one.
Don’t leave and tell no one.
And don’t stay in Lent. The time of preparation is over, ready or not – it’s time to get out there.
That is the invitation of Jesus to us in this story. It’s not time to stay stuck – there are things to do. There is a risen Christ to witness to and he is not sitting around either.
Are you ready?
Are we ever ready?
It can be hard to follow a Christ who is always one step ahead – when I am not completely sure that I understood or understand – for whom I sometimes have to listen really carefully – pay attention.
But that is what we prepared for. That is why we are a part of this community. And if not this community, then find a community. We sometimes don’t understand – but we have each other to listen with – and to. We have each other to hold us accountable for our actions and to help us listen, to help us figure out where and how we might act: to be in ministry with in a world that will not always receive us well.
Ready or not – here we come.
Christ is Risen – and calling us into the world to be and to do as Christ’s own hands and feet.
Ready or not.
I never meant you to roll back the stone before I was ready to ask.
I had not even fingered the roughness and edge of it, tested my shoulder against is painful weight, stood contemplating its massive shadow, or wept in the half dark for a miracle I would not have accepted.
How can I want what I wanted but never believed in?
Despair was at least articulate, unstrange: I knew what the repeated question was, endlessly safe from the answer.
Not this open grave, this violation of my certainty, this chill ecstasy I can no longer refuse, this fear I flee from without hope it will leave me behind:
this large, gratuitous terror I cannot now seek refuge from without complete betrayal.
You, beloved, for whom I stretch my heart with grief, rudely announce its irrelevance; arising to my unreadiness not with a comfortable word, but to a world appalled.