AfterWords is a series of community-contributed reflections intended to further the conversations that begin during Parish sermons.
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A 3-Minute Read
by Beth Nelson
Easter lingers. It’s a moment and a day so bright, so revolutionary and sensational, it can’t help but hang around. Like Christmas, there’s far too much joy and celebration to fit into one day—it must be a season.
At The Parish, we began the first day of this week remembering Friday. The coronation of our King—the crown that made Him bleed, the scepter that struck His face, the chalice of vinegar, the throne from which He hung, mocked and agonizing. He had been feasting with His friends, loving them to the very end, communing with His Father in the garden, and in a whiplash moment to those with him, He is lost. His Spirit surrendered. Finished.
He was placed in a different garden, amid the curious juxtaposition that is a cemetery—at once beautiful and macabre, full of life and full of death. New creation always begins in a garden.
It was the Sabbath day, and He rested.
It was the Sabbath day, and as Jordan said, it was the day the magic happened.
Recently, our friends invited us to linger with them on a Sabbath afternoon. We sat in their backyard, twinkle lights hanging overhead, warm beside the fire, feasting our hearts on laughter and our stomachs on snacks and wine. Sabbath is when we do no work, but a good work was done in us—for us—as we rested together. We found ourselves renewed and refreshed for the work of the week ahead. Magic!
His heart beats.
His blood begins to flow.
Waking up what was dead a moment ago.
His heart beats.
Now everything is changed.
‘Cause the blood that brought us peace with God is racing through His veins.
One of John’s favorite metaphors is light and dark, so it’s fitting for him to specify that Mary Magdalene came to the tomb while it was still dark. The other gospel writers say it was early dawn, and how dark it must have been to her, walking in that deep fog that sets in after someone you love dies. Fitting again that the fog is broken through by the dazzling white of the angels. So dense was Mary’s darkness that she scarcely registered the presence of actual angels. (Remember how many times they had to tell people not to fear at the sight of them?!?)
New creation begins with light. Regardless of when the sun came up that morning, the light dawned on Mary as she looked into the face of her Rabboni.
Jordan noted that nearly every time we see Jesus between His resurrection and His ascension, He is eating. (Forgive the irreverence, but I’m reminded of Brad Pitt’s character in Ocean’s Eleven, a considerably less meaningful film than The Shawshank Redemption, it must be said.) Jesus reveals Himself to the Emmaus pilgrims by offering them bread. He welcomes and answers the disciples’ questions by eating fish. He demonstrates Peter’s right standing with Him by serving him breakfast on the beach. Is it any wonder that we are enlivened by meals shared with people we love? We are created in the way of Christ.
This Easter season, may you bask in the new creation that is our life in Christ. Recreate. Re-create. Play. Feast. Linger. And peace be with you.